It started with a small hole, just wide enough to let the light pass through into the hall. I noticed it out of the corner of my eye as I passed quickly through this part of the house, knowing full well that deep down the hope still burned like the fire in my eyes. More time passed, and the nails must not have held. Or maybe the wood was weak. I don’t know who the culprit is but suddenly the door is open again, to the sitting room in my mind.
You’re just sitting there. There’s a cigarette dangling from the corner of your mouth, and I can’t see the fire in the fireplace except that it is bouncing off the light in your eyes. You are so comfortable. It makes me angry for a moment. What gives you the right to let yourself into my sitting room, sit yourself down in my comfy chair, and just wait, like you knew I’d be coming? The answer, of course, is because you knew I’d be coming. That hope burns like a fire in the pit of your stomach same as mine.
Cautiously I make my way into the sitting room. I recognize it only in that familiar way when you know you’re in a place you’ve been before, but you can’t remember where or how long it has been since you left it. I tentatively sit down next to you and you hand me a beer, eyebrow raised, asking questions without asking in that way it seems you’ll never be able to stop doing.
I start to say something but my eyes fall on the fire. It is nearly banked. I turn on you instinctively. If you were here, shouldn’t you have done a better job of stoking it? You know the answer is yes and there is no point in my telling you now. And maybe it’s better this way. After all, it should have gone out so many times, and it has already gone alight, and I still don’t know which I prefer. You’re still the one who brings the light to this place. How long have you been here? Did you sneak back in the moment we’d put up the boards? Is it really so hard for you to live without it?
I cannot believe we’re sitting here, in the sitting room of my mind once again. I’m concentrating very hard on the beer in my hand because I can feel the way your gaze is burning a hole through the air in my direction. I’m scared to meet your eye, not because I don’t know what I will find there, but because I do. So much burned away when we set this room on fire the last time. So much that absolutely had to go. But the embers are still burning. They are hot. They are long. For now, I am entranced by the way that they move. I finally raise my eyes to yours. And the sitting room door slams behind us.
Our Place Apart
Our Place Apart (Again)
Our Place Apart (At Last)