Her Place

by HelluvaGirl

What I do sometimes, having stepped into my empty home, is sit still in the hallway and watch the living room. I sit there in my coat and shoes, refraining myself from the automatic routine of getting undressed and involving into the modern dance of housework.

I sit for a while, looking at the place as if it wasn’t mine. My eyes open wide and travel the surface of things. I stop – really stop there, till I’m almost invisible to ghosts. Everything seems unfamiliar and I curiously observe.

Who lives here? Who is she?

She keeps her paintings and photos stacked at the corners, not risking the engagement of hammering the walls and leaving a mark before she leaves.

She just recently started keeping potted flowers. The peppermint at the huge window hasn’t died – so perhaps the flowers started keeping her?

A sufficient place, really. Light and cosy. And spacious – she wouldn’t suffocate here.

Does she belong in it?

It’s something she wanted very much, and something she appreciates greatly. I know she is thankful – I can feel that merely watching the walls that surround her every day.

But my heart also senses it does not define her. Nothing I see here defines her. Not even that large monochrome shot of a beggar’s hand resting next to a bitten burger on a bench some place and time in San Francisco. Not any more.

Does she know?

That’s where we meet, right at that question. We look at each other, and I see: she knows.

I will spend the rest of my life alone, she says.

I knew that today, and by saying I knew, I mean it came from inside. It wasn’t a suspicion, a guess or an assumption which I’d have since childhood – I knew. And as soon as I did, I smiled light-heartedly, and everything started moving around me, and I felt like I was part of this world again, part of the process and life. It was nothing like feeling fatally ill, when I’d stand there in the moving crowd, and everybody is flowing past, and I stay still as if I’m already dead.

Nothing I do defines me.