By Stephen Mander
I saw a dead man last night. He was on the side of the road, laid flat, blood in a pool around his head: he’d come off his motorbike. His helmet was fifteen feet or so further down the road, and his bike lay on the pavement away from him. It was the loneliest sight I think I’ve ever seen.
When I got home I took my shoes off and put my bag on the kitchen table. I didn’t have any food in the fridge, so I went to the drawer beside the sink and looked through some delivery menus before settling on a curry. I phoned and ordered, and they gave me a rough delivery time. Then I poured myself a beer, flicked the TV on, and sat down on the couch.
There was nothing on, so I pressed mute, got my laptop out and turned it on. Some explosions from a movie flashed on the screen while I waited for it to start.
Once the laptop was on, I typed in my password and went on the internet. I checked my email – junk, mainly, and notifications – then the news – disease, murdering fundamentalists, lying politicians – then some other sites I usually read, music ones, magazines online. After that, I played some games – Candy Crush, Scrabble, puzzle games and quizzes – and drank the rest of my beer. I checked Facebook and read what people had been up to, clicked a few likes, and then went through to the bedroom to change out of my work clothes before the curry arrived.
In the bedroom, I put my shirt and trousers into the washing basket and went to the wardrobe. When I opened the door, I stopped. It was silent. I closed it and opened it again. The only noise it made came from the hinges. I sat down on the edge of the bed, and looked at the inside of the door where the five hooks my wife had put there when we’d moved in were still stuck. I’d asked her not to. The necklaces she wanted to hang on them would bang every time she’d open the door, but she’d put them up anyway. She had better arguments: there was nowhere else for them to go, it was a good use of space, the hooks would help them keep their shape, and I had nothing to counter with. They woke me up for the next three years.
I leant over and touched one of the hooks. The sticky-back plastic she’d used to stick them on gave. They looked empty, bare, alone, useless. I had nothing to put on them, but couldn’t take them off either – I’d ruin the door.
I stood, and got a t-shirt and a pair of jeans from the shelves and put them on. Then I closed the door. The silence was full. I laid a hand flat against the wardrobe door, and the doorbell rang. I dropped my arm and went to get my curry.