Warmth

You’ve left your black slippers beside the shoe-rack; ready to tuck your feet into them when you’re back from work. There aren’t any bright shades that blind the eye, just the warm browns, reds and a streak of golden here and there. I see you’ve hanged a family portrait above the sofa and I can tell, it’s what catches the guest’s eyes first; what you want their eyes to catch first. I lightly trace the walls with the tips of my fingers as I walk deeper into the apartment, waiting at the doorway of the kitchen long enough to catch last night’s dishes sitting quietly in the sink. I don’t need to look too hard to be able to find where you’ve kept the detergent; it’s where you’d always keep them – in the cabinet below the sink, on the left, in a margarine case. You’ve left the kitchen monochrome, with the only pop colour being the crimson utensils’ basket.

I find my way to your bedroom, passing by the paintings of Buddha, mountains and a collection of masks. You’ve continued the warmth here too except it’s got more cream than reds and maroons. Your love for teak reflects in the matching furniture with the only exception being the black faux-leather cased, spinning chair paired with your study table. The pale curtains lead to a balcony and I wonder if the wind here reminds you of the salty breeze of home. You’ve made your bed and tucked in the bed sheets tight, leaving no crease of last night’s dreams.

I sit down lightly, rubbing my palms against the soft cotton of the sheets. I lay down slowly, trying to mimic you, wondering in what way you might have crinkled the sheets – did you sleep straight with your palms crossed over your chest or did you sleep on your left side, with your knees slightly bent and your left palm acting as another cushion below your head? Or was it another posture? I wonder if you slept well. What might you have dreamt last night? I subconsciously shift to my right as I curl up, clutching the sheets as I try finding the answers, knowing I will never know. The room feels colder and I can feel the warmth of my body leaving me; the warmth in the room isn’t enough. And reality crawls into bed with me as I feel the grief rise through my chest, enclosing it in a pain that escapes me through silent wails, my hands reaching out to grasp the air that might have touched you last night, trying to catch on to some fragment of you that might still be there. And so I hum your favourite classic through broken sobs, into the fluffed pillows with my eyes closed as I feel the warmth of your memory catching up.

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