A girl waits at home for her significant other to come back.

It was a small apartment. It had four windows, and six doors. There was carpet in the living room, and tile in the kitchen and bathroom. The walls were white. The living room housed the couches, the bedroom a bed and a dresser and one full length mirror. The closet contained rows of neatly hung clothing, arranged by color melting into patterns. There were shades on two of the windows, blinds on the others. The singular clock that hung on the wall ticked away the seconds, all sixty of them.
She sat on the couch, watching the clock’s hands dance around the circle.
 He never called.
She wanted to scream.
All she had wanted was for him to make an effort. Promises, promises, promises. Her heart ached, and she felt that longing that started in the pit of her stomach before it grabbed and throttled her, making it hard to breathe, speeding up her heart rate, the loss of control she felt from it.
Tock. Recite the words, she thought to herself, say what you would have said to him.
“Hi Calin, I was just wondering where you were. You were supposed to be home about an hour ago, so I was worried I guess. Are you going to be home soon?”
And he’d say yes, of course .
But he still didn’t call.
They had moved in almost two years prior. It was their first pick, and they had fallen in love with it right away. It was in a gated complex, but theirs in particular was in an ideal spot. It settled on the fifth floor, on the corner of the building so they got a view from two sides. It overlooked the San Francisco bay, and seemed to always be in the sunlight. It was perfection. She could remember the first day, remembered telling him she never wanted to leave, that this was their home and she wanted it to be that way forever. 
Forever. Forever lasted just long enough for her to be happy.
He came home late one night, reeking of alcohol. She stood in the door way of their bedroom, silhouetted by the light. Leaning against the door frame, she didn’t speak. He stood, wobbly, watching her. They assessed each other, sizing each other up. Who would speak first? Just as his jaw dropped and his tongue tried to stutter the words, she spoke.
“Its 2 am.” She said simply, purely stating a fact. She stepped into the light, and he could see her wholly now. He admired the way the illumination graced her face, softening what he knew to be a very angry person.
“ I…Well. Gemmmma.” He elongated her name and then giggled. “Well Gem, I….” He grappled with the words, fighting between not caring and wanting desperately to have things make sense to her.
“What excuse Calin? What excuse are you going to feed me this time?”
“No excuses. “ He made a half hearted cross over his chest. “See, we just went out for drinks after work. That’s really it. I promissse. “
“For five hours? Drinks for five hours? I’m not stupid you know. Something else is going on and you aren’t telling me. And I’m sorry. But I don’t want to be continually waiting for you to come home drunk every night.”
“God Gemma, shut up. You are always on my fucking case and I can’t stand it. I can’t stand you. At all.” Calin swallowed harshly, the realization of what he said sinking in. She stood so innocently, so taken aback and he felt the guilt fall over him.
“You can’t stand me? “ Her voice was so small and quiet, he almost didn’t hear her. “Well then, I’m sorry you feel that way.” She turned on her heel, and disappeared into the bedroom, closing the door softly behind her, shutting her in, and shutting him out. He paced the living room for over an hour, his head still too foggy to figure out how to correct the situation. Finally, he opted to knock on the bedroom door.
He tapped quietly, “Gemma.” There was no response. “Gemma, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it, I was just...frustrated. I love you to death, and I don’t want to hurt to you.” She still didn’t respond. He rested his forehead against the door. “Gem. Please.” His hand sought the door knob and eventually found it. He twisted it, surprised to find that it was unlocked, and swung the door open. She was laying in bed, seemingly ignoring his presence. He sat at the end of the bed, slipping his shoes off, before crawling into bed next to her. His hand rested on her hip and he buried his face in her neck. “I love you.” He whispered.
 Gemma turned over and faced him. Her eyes were hard, and burned into his. He knew instantly that he had let her down. She didn’t speak, but instead pressed her lips against his gently.
“Always?” she asked. His fingers traced patterns on her bare skin, and he wrote the word before he said it.
It was the one and only fight they had ever had. He never once showed up at home intoxicated again. Started drinking in moderation, and only while he was with her. She assumed he had changed, but once again, she was waiting. She had turned over every possibly negative thought she was capable of. Between what she knew to be imagined and what she knew to be real. The fact of the matter was, he was not coming home. Maybe he had gotten into a car accident, no, he would have called her. Maybe he was working late, he would have called.
He would have called.
“Please call.” She whispered, wrapping her arms around herself. Gemma paced, the same path back and forth. She stood at the glass door leading out to the balcony and closed her eyes.
She could feel his hands resting on the sides of her arms, his fingers gracing her skin, trailing up and down lightly before he enveloped her in his arms, holding her close. She leaned into him, feeling the familiarity of his heartbeat, strong and unfaltering. She could feel his breath on the nape of her neck as he rested his chin in the nook where her shoulder met her neck. Everything that ever comforted her, lost and found in this one moment.
“Where did you go?” She whispered.
“Here. I’ve always been right here.”
“You never came home.”
“I’ve been trying to. I couldn’t find my way back.” He responded softly. His hands were so cold on her skin, trying to steal the heat of her body.
“And now?” She asked.
“I searched for you and followed it home.”
“Followed what home?”
“The glow of your heart and soul.”  He muttered.
He kissed her, right below her earlobe, and she opened her eyes. Now she knew why he hadn’t come home yet. Now she knew she could rest, because he’d always find his way back to her. With a final look outside, she watched as the lightening set fire to the sky, and went to bed.

Submitted: April 26, 2011

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Wed, July 27th, 2016 11:13am

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