You walked in and time stopped ~ I didn't understand the phrase before last night. Genuinely life around me stopped happening, it faded into nothing.
You looked the same, that funny bit of hair that I always tried to make lie flat at the back of your head still bobbed merrily; your eyes searching the room, never still even when you were. Did you know I would be there? You were wearing that shirt I bought you, the one I love to rest my head on when it covered your chest.
I put my drink down, amazingly my hand wasn't trembling even though my soul was; catching sight of myself in the mirror I looked calm and collected ~ except for my eyes, which seemed to be beacons of confusion and fear. Excusing myself I walked quickly to the bathroom and sank down on the side of the bath. How the HELL did you come to be there? My life didn't include you any more, you had been expunged from my heart and soul. Suddenly I was angry ~ how DARE you return me to this hideous sense of confusion and sadness after I had worked so hard to rid myself of it you Bastard.
I had a choice, either I could walk back out and brazen it out or I could slink out into the shadowy night and avoid any chance of contact. My head was full of memories, all the talking, hours of it, the laughter, and the sweet scent of you after we had made love and I lay safely in your arms. You swore to me that you would be mine forever, no-one could part us. And the other memories, the rows and the tears, cruel words and even crueller actions, the unbearable pain of loss and longing that washed over me even now, after all this time.
I had to get away, I couldn't be that person again, that trembling, weak half woman that the people in my new life wouldn't recognise. Quietly I slipped away, I could phone in the morning and apologise.
The streets were slick with summer rain, as it fell I hoped it hid the tears streaming down my face. I got home, bolted the doors and reached for the vodka bottle in the fridge; I hadn't touched it for months but by God I needed it now.
I thought back to that last night, the way you had looked, so calm and detached when you told me you were leaving, not for anyone else but just because I wasn't good enough for you anymore. The pain made me breathless, as it had done at the time, the disbelief washed over me in the same way, leaving me gasping for breath.
And I remembered the knife in my hand ~ and that's how I knew it couldn't be you.