By S. A. Murison
I went looking for you after you left me. I walked the streets every night, looking into other people’s living rooms, their bookshelves lined with books. Or peering in dining rooms, tables abandoned, a collision of dishes and glassware. People in backyards gazing at stars.
You were not there. Not there. Nor there.
It felt lonelier knowing about these occupied places where other couples lived in silent contentedness. And then, I found this house; book-lined walls, red-painted and picture-hung, cat in the window, fire untended. A book left open, face-down on the sofa, a cranberry colored afghan pushed aside because you were in the kitchen, making tea.
You must have been expecting me.
I had walked out into this night in search of something that looked like home. I never wanted much. A mug of tea. An afghan and cat to be draped on my lap. A place where rooms burned bright instead of burning dull from a single bulb, dangling from the ceiling with its ball and chain. Always on. Whether you were home or not.
There you were.
I sit on the stoop of this house; this house now mine with the book-lined walls, red-painted walls, picture-hung walls, and inhale black-night September air. I smell the fire in my fireplace, feel the warm mug of tea in my hands. The tea you made. For me.
I came in from the chilled night, my hands dirty and stiff from the shovel handle. I imagine I see you in the moving shadow. I push at my bangs with the back of my hand. I imagine it is you. I will wash the glasses and the dishes. Put the book back on the shelf, fold the afghan, feed the cat. Brush my hair. Turn out the light. You will look up through the dirt at the stars above.
I know you will never leave me again. I will never be alone again.