Chess & Chocolate

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How can anything matter anymore? I wiped down my dress and pulled the leaves from my hair as I walked towards my car. The sun was setting and I was glad. When the sun came up tomorrow I’d have another chance to be a totally new person. Today I failed myself and I didn’t understand why. I knew how much I missed the old me and the rest of the world too, but who was the old me really? Did I really want to be the girl who became depressed and suicidal at the drop of a hat because life wasn’t playing fair? Was I still the girl who wanted stardom and material things? Did I still want to be alone and yet be surrounded by throngs of acquaintances who all knew my name and wanted something from me and gave me nothing back in return? No, that wasn’t me anymore. I couldn’t live to please anyone other than myself and now that was clearer to me than ever before in my whole life.

”Are you okay?” I heard a voice say.

“No.” I said back helplessly at the voice.

“Do you need any help? The voice asked again.

“Do you know Doctor Phil and Oprah by any chance?” I whimpered back.

I heard the voice laugh and thought; Tess you’re losing your mind and mocking yourself. Then suddenly I heard a knock and I opened my eyes, realising that I wasn’t talking to myself. There was a man standing at my window, looking in. I jumped. It was after six in the evening so I knew he wasn’t a ghost and it was still too light for him to be a vampire. Yes, I was actually considering vampires. He’d actually laugh because of this later and would say he finds me rather endearing and wonderfully strange.

I write for a living, of course I’m strange. I rolled down my window a centimetre.

“I’m okay. I just needed to rest for a while.’

He laughed again.

“Good place to rest, except those who move in here never leave.” I noticed the weathered creases around his hazel brown eyes. They seemed familiar.

“Yeah, I’m pretty aware of that.” I winced thinking how pathetic I was for visiting the grave.

I didn’t want to talk to this stranger anymore. I needed to leave. I started the car, rolled up my window and backed out. I kept watching his dark figure, hands in pockets as I turned down the road and that was the last I thought I would ever see him again.

Getting home I turned on the lights and headed for the kitchen. It use to be the heart of this house. Now it was just filled with the memories of the lies that was my life. My dog, Oak looked up at me and put his head back down again. He was feeling as low as I was today.

“How about I cook us dinner and run a bath for myself and then we can settle in and watch a movie in my bed tonight? Would you like that Oak?” He raised his head again, tail lightly wagging. The dog was a gift. He was here to me company and I really needed it now.  When dinner was done and I’d had that bath and we’d watched an Audrey Hepburn movie I put out the light and looked up at the ceiling as I did every night now and let the loneliness engulf me.

“Who was the man I saw talking to you today?”

“I thought you might see that.” I whispered. “I don’t know who he was and I don’t really care.”

“When will you make a new friend?”

“I have you. I don’t need a friend.” I whispered again.” And in any case nice men didn’t hang out in cemeteries and talk to strange women sitting in their cars all alone. I kept laying that way for hours until I realised the sun was coming through the curtains and I rolled over on my side. It was nearly 07.00 and I hadn’t slept all night. Again I’d just lay there like a blank page. I decided to throw the duvet off myself and face the world. I wrapped myself in my grey towelling gown after I had laboriously made the distance from my bed to the mirror and flinched at the dark circles under my eyes. I looked battered. I couldn’t decide whether I’d have coffee or the last of the bottle of tequilla under my bed, still containing the alcohol drenched worm; my single reason to hallucinate.

“You should eat, have a shower and get some sun.”

I sat in the backyard with a cup of coffee and a cigarette dangling from my lips like a real French suffering artist. My lips were raw. I’d been chewing at them all night without noticing. The coffee burned down my throat and the cigarette made me feel sick. I didn’t smoke. One of the mourners had forgotten their pack here and I’d been toying with them for days now. I sat imagining that I was anywhere but in a big empty house all alone and wishing that he were here. Wishing that he’d never left. Was I to move through the world numbly forever? My eyes fell on the damp leaves blowing around on the grass. The wind was picking up. The bookstore will be good and needed. Today will be good. It would get a teaspoon better than it had been yesterday. Everyone had told her that. Everyday would be better than the last and then one day it wouldn’t hurt anymore.

“Oh God! Please let that day come quickly.” She let out a laugh and a sigh and shuffled through the lounge to the first bathroom and turned on the taps. She peeled her pajamas off her body and stepped in under the hot pulsing stream of water. It soothed her sore muscles and she curled her back in under the current. If only it could get in deeper. If only it could wash everything away.

She’d see Thomas and they would have a cup of coffee. He wasn’t her best friend but he had been part of her life for as long as five years and he was good to her. Thomas made sure she had food in the fridge and clean clothing in her cupboard and enough books to keep her occupied. He’d been the caretaker in those first few days. He made sure she remained partially sane. He felt sorry for her, even responsible. No one should have to lose a man and discover what she had in the way that she did.

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