I stand here, gazing up at his house. The house I have seen so many times. I hesitate for a moment, before bending down and sliding my hand under the doormat, rescuing the key from underneath. I hold it in my hand for a moment. It’s cool against my damp palms.
I wonder if I should really do this. I’ve planned it out a thousand times. I know how long he’ll be out for. Normally he’s at least half an hour. That’s plenty of time to look around his house.
Before I can debate further, I slide the key into the lock. The click it makes as the door unlocks is music to my ears. I open the door and step into the hall.
It smells of honey and beer. I inhale deeply. The scent is strong in my nostrils. I’ll never forget this smell.
I consider going straight up the stairs to his room, but the living room tempts me too much. My footsteps echo loudly on the lino as I make my way into it.
It’s not as artistic as I thought it would be. The settee is corduroy, beige and faded. A scarlet rug is thrown carelessly on the carpet. The TV is a modest size, sat opposite a deep blue armchair which doesn’t match the settee at all. The seat is low and clearly used a lot. I smile, picturing him sat with a can of beer, watching TV, with his feet propped up on the red pouf.
I finger his collection of DVDs on the shelves. Action films, comedy films, nature films. There’s a wide variety, but there’s very few romantic ones.
He’s left the kitchen door open. I walk into it. The odour of tomatoes and milk hits me. It’s not exactly pleasant, but it’s part of him, so I don’t turn my nose up at it.
I stroke the door handles of his cupboards, opening each one and examining his choice in food. There are endless tins of soup. Tomato, chicken, mushroom, vegetable. All stacked up neatly.
I open the fridge, which humbly contains a bottle of milk, a four-pack of beer, butter, a block of cheese and three strawberry yoghurts.
I walk back through the living room and make my way up the stairs. Each step creaks under my feet, making me nervous. I know I shouldn’t be here, but I won’t be long.
I open the first door, which is his bathroom. The mirror is still steamy from when he’s had his shower this morning. I press my finger to it, drawing a tiny love heart in the top right corner.
His dressing gown is hung on the back of the door. Without even hesitating, I slide my jacket off my shoulders and slip my arms into his gown. It’s warm. I wonder when he last wore it? I press my nose into it. It smells of soap and deodorant.
His cologne is on a shelf. I spray some on my wrist. It is strong and makes my eyes water. I consider sneaking it into my bag so I can smell him forever, but I don’t. I make a note of its name, though. Forever. I smile at the irony. He has no idea that that’s how long I’ll love him for.
I work my way to the next room, which is a simple, tiny study, with a desk, computer, a pot of pens and a faded blue swivel chair. I sit down in it and spin around crazily for a moment. Does he spin like a child, too?
I glance at my watch. I’ve been here twenty minutes already, and I haven’t even seen his bedroom yet. Maybe he won’t be as long today. I panic, and jump out of the chair.
I hurry to the next room, my heart thumping so heavily it feels as though it’s in my throat. I clasp the doorknob, twisting it gently. I feel slightly sick.
I open the door, stepping in gingerly. I look around. The walls are cream. The carpet is brown. The double bed is brown leatherette, with a charcoal duvet and matching pillows, a few cushions scattered carelessly around.
Wardrobes are fitted into the wall. I open them, carefully stroking his clothes. Beside the wardrobe is a chest of drawers. I look at myself in the mirror placed on the top of them, patting my hair into place.
I peer at the bed anxiously. I sit down very gingerly, swinging around and lying down properly. I rest my head on the pillow which looks more flat. I breathe in deeply. It smells of coconut.
I pretend that I am his wife, the love of his life, and that I live here. He is laid beside me. I can almost feel him there.
But when I open my eyes, I am alone. He’s not here.
I should be going now. I’m pushing it, staying here. He’ll be back any minute.
But I’m tired, so tired. I can’t be bothered to move. I don’t want to get up. I’ll just stay five more minutes.