I’ve got two blue shirts folded in front of me on the bed covered with black as I fold the third. I’ve let the chiffon curtain fall over the window letting the orange dance into the room. I stop midway as I stare down at the pattern and memories printed on it. I can feel the five o’clock warmth wrap itself around me but only through the sweater of fifteen months ago. I gently trace the polkas and kalkas, afraid to erase the memories yet trying to reach them one more time.
I put down the shirt as I walk over to the table looking for my phone and some more memories and subconsciously switch on the radio as I head back to the bed, amongst my blues. I’ve scrolled down pictures and people from today and yesterday, searching for you and the blue shirt. I fold my left knee to my chest as I let the toes curl in the bed-sheet’s warmth instead of the cold tiles and continue scrolling.
You’d dragged me out for dinner only to wait outside the restaurant for an hour and then be dragged to the roadside stall with five types of rolls. I’d confidently defended my appetite and told you I’d have a whole only to slide over one half to you, mumbling about how annoying you were as you burst into a fit of laughter, sprawling across five steps, enjoying my defeat. We walked aimlessly in circles and lines, through neighborhoods with children’s parks and cream coloured villas, and main roads with broken footpaths and cows. We spoke of the night and those after, not afraid of the dark, finding light here in the stars instead of waiting for sunrise.
I scroll up a little now and find you in purple and me in maroon. We didn’t wait an hour this time and had the entire city for a view at our feet. We’d ordered our usual and spoken about everything and nothing, going from evening to night in a breath we never realized we’d held on.
I scroll up a little more. And a little more. Sometimes with you in navy and me in black. Sometimes with you in pastel and me in white. I scroll up to find twenty of you, then ten, then six, then three, then one and then no more. I scroll down again and then up, trying to find more of you – maybe in mustard or maroon or in those checks you’d wear for meetings and presentations. But there’s no more now. Not even of those without me that were meant to create our presence in our absence.
I let absence sit beside me today, acknowledging it and it’s anger and grief. And I watch it fold the blue shirt, tracing the polkas and kalkas before closing the cupboard with just a little more force than usual.