It was one of those horrible suburban Saturday evenings – extended in the knowledge that the following day would unfold in a flux of languidness and limp decision-making. Leah stood pointedly in the bedroom bay window beneath the slight air sifting through the curtains – an air incensed with the fumes of night-time foliage under which the curtains seemed to part as flesh against metal.
She thought that there was not much that could be missed. A streetlight wavered in its stunted pulse, casting a plethora of shadows across the garden, the black sacks still swollen with refuge where cats drawled over the bones of an occasional carcass. She watched them as so many people attempted to watch cinema – searching for some artistic relevance to be applied to one’s own life. In the half-light two Tom cats screamed over a single female.
Leah stood behind the thick glass on the window in a seemingly separate domesticity. She had poured her husband’s cup of tea, watching meticulously as to how the liquid almost stung against the empty white of the china cup, she had let the fire die in the grate and finished, wholly, determinedly, unhooking letters with the sharp steel prong of the letter opener. It gave her a peculiar satisfaction to feel the metal between her fingers, feel its spiteful impact through numerous advertisements – ‘Get away to the sun today’, and similar. A single stab through a putrid, slightly pixelated grin. Shreds sunk to the floor in their lifeless confetti.
Glancing round, her body seemed weighted as if in anticipation of sleep, her customary drowsiness drawn-out by caffeine. She looked at how free of sleep the open night seemed to be – the sky sucked dry and dribbling its own bruise under which the hot insects of the night spoke in their secrets to guess, where birds shrilled and pollen bloated in the tendrils of the floor – immense and swollen. She sucked her teeth almost angrily – thought about how the garden would overgrow, how the moss would prise her bulbous fingers between the crevices in the wall, how cobwebs over the gutters would catch the light and suspend suffering on their strings. Suffering dragged along the strings of existence, it could be said.
But she said nothing. Despite staring from the window, she pointedly felt the searing expanse of white wall behind her against which the bed rested, it’s elevation of twisted metal seizing the room in an apparent declaration of superiority. For she had a husband, domesticity, every morning she awoke bathed in the peculiar expectations of existence. Sometimes she felt his hand against her neck, wandering down in slow circles to her waist. But it was only a hand.
She heard his particular, almost jealous drawl behind her.
“Come to bed.”
The last envelope fell open. It was fruitless – some special offer on champagne flutes, or cutlery or something similarly empty. She thought fleetingly of all the municipal improvements she could make – how she could awake to a stronger, more determined scent in the room, light dancing over an array of popularised textures such as smashed glass, how the front door needed a new lock, how they needed thicker curtains, a coat of red on the wall –
She dropped the advertisement and turned round with her only engaged hand.
“This is for you,” She said, as she lunged.