The Envelope

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A brief glimpse into love and death.....

Submitted: September 19, 2007

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Submitted: September 19, 2007

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The envelope

* It was the envelope that stood out most.  The few remaining rays from the setting sun were forcing their way into the dark bedroom through half-closed shutters, bathing the sealed white envelope that lie just below his dangling feet in an orange-afternoon light.  She had no idea how long his alarm clock had been going off.  In fact, that faint buzzing in the back of her head had yet to even register as his alarm clock, which continued chirping away from atop the clutter of books on his nightstand, hidden in the darkest corner of his room next to his unmade bed.  The time glared at her like two red eyes, 7:09pm.  He was wearing boxer briefs and the same shirt hed been wearing the last time she saw him, over a month ago.  Indeed, his room looked as if he hadnt left it since that day.  The smell of whiskey, body odor and dirty laundry barely penetrated the dense fog that engulfed her senses.  And though her mind finally began to slowly absorb the entire scene, it was the envelope that stood out the most. She forced herself to look away from the envelope that she knew was full of words that were meant for her.  Her eyes moved to the stool that lay tipped on its side below him, the same stool she had rested her suitcase on when she packed up and left that night over a month ago.  Her gaze continued slowly from his feet to the back of his head, slowly tracing what was rapidly becoming just a silhouette of his lifeless form.  The rope was hidden from the small amount of light that did make it through, and for a brief moment of denial she thought it perfectly normal that he was just floating, his head cocked slightly to one side, as if in deep thought.  Tearless and with a steady stride, she crossed the bedroom floor and bent down to pick up the envelope that showed her name to the bottom of his cold feet.  With closed eyes, she kissed her hand and placed it on the back of his leg before turning and walking swiftly from the room to use the phone.  She didnt want to see his face* *   "What are you drinking?" he asked. "Whisky Sour." "Lets make it two," he said to the bartender. Those were the first words they ever spoke, and while he always swore up and down that she had approached him, she remembered clearly him stumbling towards her, his eyes never leaving hers.  When the bartender had brought the drinks and was waiting to be paid, all he did was turn and look at her expectantly.  "Well?  I think the way it goes is you have to pay before we can drink these," he said. She couldnt believe that he was serious. "Hold on, you want ME to pay for YOUR drink?" "Ill get the next one," he said with a slight smile. "What makes you think Im going to have this drink with you, let alone another?" "Just a feeling." She couldnt help but smile.  She knew he was drunk, but she also knew he had meant what he was saying.  So she bought the drink, and him the next.  They had talked the night away through countless empty bottles and full ashtrays, telling of failed romances through unlit cigarettes and sharing childhood stories between swigs.  When her friends tried to drag her away she said she was staying a while longer. "Its okay," she said, "he doesnt live too far from me, well just share a cab." When they realized that she wasnt budging, they left reluctantly.  She looked around. "Wait, who are you here with?" He just smiled and said, "You." They talked strait through last call and never noticed when the lights turned on. "Closing time," said the bartender, "you aint gotta go home but you cant stay here." She remembered him saying that he always hated when they said it like that, and they shared a laugh together as they walked outside to grab a cab.  It was cold, but clear, she remembered that too.  They waited, watching the stars hang down through the steam of their breath.  Five minutes later they were hurrying into the back seat of a cab. "Where to?"   ***   When the ambulance arrived she was sitting on the front porch, staring blankly at the sealed envelope in her hand.  "Hes in the bedroom, second door on the right," she said, without lifting her eyes from the envelope as the paramedics pushed past her.  She still couldnt believe it.  Countless questions continued streaming through her head, so many so fast that she couldnt focus on any single one.  They just rushed through in a continuous flow, blending all together and humming like traffic.  She didnt know if she should open the envelope, she didnt know if she could.  In the backround she could hear one of the paramedics speaking to the other as they cut the rope that made his body float and lowered him to the ground.  A gruffer, more dominant voice was speaking to the other in a way that made her guess that he was a supervisor showing the newer guy how things worked.  Though she was sure that it was unintentional, she couldnt help but notice that they were making no attempt whatsoever to lower their voices to stop her from hearing them.  There conversation was mixing with the buzzing questions in her head. Why did he do it? "You see, the result of a hanging relies on several different factors," said the gruff voice.  "The weight of the victem, the size of his neck and the distance of the drop, to name a few.  This kid here was too skinny and the fall was too short for him to break his neck, so he died of asphyxiation.  He shit himself after he died, not while he was struggling." Did she do this to him? "You see how purple his face is?" he continued, "you wouldnt get that on somebody who fell a little further and broke their neck.  Same with the way his eyes are bulging and his tongue is swollen.  You find these same symptoms in strangulation victims, but theres no mystery how this happened." Why didnt she just get there sooner? "See those scratches all around his neck where the rope was, the rope burns on his palms and the missing fingernails?  Looks like somebody changed their mind a little too late...  Come on, lets get him outta here." ****


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