I have called everyone there is to call in my phonebook, and now I sit here and stare. At what, I’m unsure. The washing machine is humming in the background and it is soothing; it’s a low all-encompassing white noise, which reminds me I have something to wait up for. The wet sheets won’t hang themselves.
The house is empty, and the kitchen is cold. It is not the first time I’ve had a night like this – but it is hard to distinguish one from another. Once in a while, they’re bound to happen. I stub out my cigarette. The room is now quite smoky, and I get up from my chair to get another bottle of wine from my room. They’re not good bottles, but they’re cheap so I buy a lot of them when they are on sale. Blood rushes to my head as I stand up.
It is okay to be alone in the house. I can’t hear the family that lives upstairs, but I have seen them out, and I know they are there most of the time because I always see the dad in his study coming home in the afternoons. One of the first nights I stayed in the house, they fought for an hour. From the bed, and with a gentle move of his fingers, my boyfriend pointed to the ceiling. It’s coming from upstairs, he whispered. They haven’t fought much since that night – maybe they have sorted what needed sorting.
Loneliness follows you everywhere you go. Or rather, aloneness follows me wherever I go. It is there, in the middle of the night, when all you hear is the breathing beside you, and you push the window a little more open, to hear the sounds of the city. You trace shadows of the window on the wall, one naked leg out from under the cover, just able to detect your toes at the end. You look at his outline; watching his back and shoulders raise and lower in a slow steady pace; you wish you knew what he was dreaming about. You hope it’s you. As he was talking, and I could feel myself falling into his blue, camel eyes: what was he thinking then? He told me he wanted to move far away. Not anytime soon, but soon enough. Do I want to move far away? Will I be happy there, happy enough?
His hair is yellow like wheat. He is tall enough to climb, and nest in his arms. His teeth are like bright pearls on a string, dropped delicately in his mouth. His hands are strong and can hold my body close to his. When he smiles, his eyes bend and his lids close slightly. When he sleeps, his breath is light and innocent, his eyelids are smooth, like stones washed ashore, polished by the sea. As he lies there, I hope he will never leave me.
And now I am sitting here. I have trawled through series on my computer all night because the electronic sound and cold light make me think less. Going to bed seems a little pointless. Oh yes – the washing isn’t quite done either.
My kitchen is open; it has blue linoleum floors and oiled wooden counters. All our walls are white, but I have hung some pictures to make it feel like home. Along the back wall are the four yellow chairs, left by the owner who died from a stroke. Above them on a shelf, we have a stereo, which my flatmate uses frequently and in the middle of the shelf, there are four Italian coffeemakers, which I taught him how to use. You screw the top off, fill the bottom with water, put the coffee holder in and fill it with the coffee (it must be packed for full effect) and screw the lid back on. There is also a green jug, with fat white flowers painted onto.
I have smoked a bit too much tonight. I lost count, but it’s more than a pack. Although I can’t see it, I imagine a Marlboro-cloud circulating the ceiling. I enjoy it and do it without thinking too much. I think about my man again and I wish he were here, with me, right now. Sometimes, for inexplicable reasons, the sense of being alone goes away, and two people can just be together.
I wake up the next morning feeling better. The water is hard against my face, but it is relaxing. Nice, actually. I am not too hungover, and my skin did not break out overnight. I make some coffee on the Italian coffee maker, pick my nose, and open the door to our garden, to see a fox, orange and slim, strolling unbothered through our garden. It disappears into the raspberry bushes, and under a fence. They cannot find their way out of the city, the foxes, so they wander around aimlessly, picking food out of the trash, or eating rodents, until they eventually get run over by a bus, or die of starvation. I wonder if they mate, and if so, if they do it for life? Our garden is green. I sit and I look; the weather is fresh, and not too cold, so it’s nice to just sit. I don’t want to smoke yet, but it’ll come. I hung the sheets to dry before I went to bed.