I stand on the last step of the staircase in the middle of the hall. I have the outside door in front of me, my bedroom door to my left. I can hear him walking up to the outside door, his steps tentative. I grimace. I know he knows I am home. I debate on walking, softly, to hide in the basement. He will know I am ignoring him. I would hate it if he did that to me. He knockknockKNOCKS. I breathe in deeply and step down off of the stair. I close my eyes and say a quick prayer.
I look out of the centre glass windowpane. I act surprised that it is him. I try to smile but my face is reluctant. I unlock the handle and open it. His face is pinched and pained. He mutters something about needing to talk to me in private so I let him in the hall. The thought went through my head that I wished I was not home alone.
“You didn’t need to tell her. I’m sure she knew but reassuring her wasn’t the best thing to do.”
I wrinkled my nose like I was smelling something bad (fish, gym socks or oven cleaner fumes). I shook my head and said, “I have not told her anything. I have not spoken to her in months.”
We stood less than arms length from each other. This distance use to feel like a lightening storm. When that storm struck, we could not look at each other in fear of tearing into the other’s clothing to retrieve the sweetness of the flesh beneath.
Now the space in-between us was awkward. Not exactly flat, you could still feel the electricity. The switch was just off.
And it had to stay that way.
“One of your friends must’ve told her then.”
“None of my friends can tolerate her. Maybe she just sorted it out on her own.”
“No, someone said something. She’s out for your head.”
I shrugged my shoulders, “She has been for months.”
“Not like now. She’s plotting against us both.”
I tried to raise my eyes to meet his but I truly could not. The person that stood before me was not the man I once loved. That man was a figment of my imagination.
“You are a coward. I hate you….. Please leave.”
“I’m not a coward and you don’t hate me.”
I curled my hands into balls and raised them – but he was gone.
“Not a coward? HA!” I said to no-one at all.
I stood in the hall and extra moment and shook off the feeling that I was being watched. I turned to walk to my room to lay down when a very loud KNOCKKNOCK happened on my door.
I made the face that my grandmother called “knitting my eyebrows together” and looked out of the centre glass windowpane.
I had no idea who the person on the other side was. Cautiously, I unlocked the handle and opened the door.
“Are you Melinda Dahl?”
“Did you hear any commotion from your neighbours’ house last night?”
I shook my head and asked why.
“It appears that there was a domestic squabbled that turned fatal in the early morning hours. We’re just trying to figure out what happened.”
I felt the colour drain out of my face.
“Did you know them well?”, the man asked.
“I was friends with him for some time, yes. Her, no… I did not know her very well.”
“I’m sorry to have to inform you of this tragedy, Mrs Dahl. If you can think of anything that might help, could you ring me at this number? I’m sure she’ll get a lawyer and we’d like to know everything we can.”
“Yes, of course.”
I closed the door and stared at the card he handed me. I was not seeing the black font on the white card. I felt an overwhelming urge to cry but no tears fell.
I woke up forgetting this had just been a dream. I thought for sure he was dead. I felt a small twinge of guilt. I let things go to far. I said things I really should not have.
Then I felt peace warm me over. What will be, will be. I cannot say or do anything to make anyone feel differently. I can only control my own actions.
I am thankful it was only a dream.