Return in the Breeze

Submitted into Contest #101 in response to: Write a story that involves a reflection in a mirror.... view prompt

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Fiction Sad Romance

When I'm watching TV, in the small home we shared, I look at the window to see you standing there. So, I close the blinds, because I'd rather be blind than to see the reflection of the man who died. 

I watch and I watch the screen full of colours until I don't know what I'm seeing, then I watch some more. But I never turn it off because the image I'd see, reflected at me, is worse than white noise on the TV. 

When the sky cries onto the earth, I see you in the reflection of mucky puddles. So, I splash in them until your face ripples away. I never cry on rainy days. 

I avoid mirrors like a sickness because I know what I'll see. I don't like dry-heaving at a mirage of you and me. 

But today, I must. I'm preparing for my date. The first since you left. And when I look in the mirror to adjust the silk of my dress, 

I pretend I don't see you standing there, behind me. Your pitch-black locks shift when you shake your head. Something on your face crackles with hatred. And my chest starts to quiver when you bring your hands forth. They clasp around my waist. The warmth seeps through my clothes. You brush my brown hair behind my ear, then you bring your torso near. I tense and wait for the words to be said—the ones you never really spoke out loud, but somehow managed to lodge in my head. 

Heat engulfs me when you finally speak. 

How could you? I thought you loved me.

My stomach sinks with the weight of those words.

Your gaze might as well be that of a feline's, sharp and calculating. And I'm the hunt that ran away, unsatisfied. I try not to feel like a piece of meat, giving herself over to another lion's pride. 

As the second-hand ticks away on my watch, unbearably loud in the quiet of our room, I realize it's the timepiece you gave me on our first anniversary. When I look into the glass, all I can see is a face that doesn't belong to the little clock or me. I unclasp it from my wrist and set it down on our cabinet. Then, I think again and shove it deep into the third drawer, where I can't reach it easily. I don't need your little brown eyes watching me flirt and smile, twirling my hair as I stare into the eyes of another man. I don't need the judgement that comes along with wearing you on my hand. 

And with that thought, I look down to my trembling fist and see the golden little band that chokes me where it sits. It once played a tune of unity and love. Now it wails the sombre chords of a woman who is stuck. This I cannot stand, so I rip it off like it burns me, clattering to the dresser with a sizzling smack. I see your eyes in the mirror, offended at my heartless deed, enough to make my reflection crack.

Even still, when bitterness contorts you, your skin glows like it did (before the cancer took your warmth away and made you grim and thin). And it hurts. Oh dear, how it hurts. We didn't have children like you wanted to. You never finished school. None of this is fair. We didn't go on our honeymoon because the money just wasn't there. Our bedsheets don't smell like you, they've been washed too many times. I still have your cologne that smells like cedarwood and lime. 

Spraying it now seems like a sin like I'm doing something wrong. But it was you with the transgressions that spewed an aching on my heart. When you lied and told me that you would always stay, said you'd never leave me until I finally said okay. But your body told the truth, opposed what your pretty words did not convey. With a green face and pale skin, you took my hand in yours, shifted closer so I felt exactly how you mourned. 

The contrast of our hands convinced me of the heartbreak held in your sickness and in my health, in life and in death. Since that moment I've been holding my breath. You said:

When the cold cocoons it

The bare branch with no leaves 

It leaves you a promise 

Of return in the breeze

How weird...my hand. There's a trickling feel on my skin where a streak of redness trails. From my knuckles to my wrist, to my elbow when I twist. The blood reminds me again how stupidly human I am. How emotions can control me and make me do senseless things, like smash a mirror into bits just because I'm pissed. 

I stumble to the washroom, cupping a hand under the blood, so none of it stains the carpet you always helped me scrub. This time, I won't smash the mirror, even when you follow me. 

Turning the sink's handle is more difficult than I thought it would be. But when I lift my head to see you once more, you turn the water on for me, making sure it isn't too cold. Regardless, I shiver, because a warm, familiar, and safe arm cradles mine. And a flash of a memory sickens me. Then, I start to cry.

Your hand scrubs my blood down into the drain. And I'm drained of all sanity when I feel the pain. Where each cut is open, a sharp sting passes through. Each movement of your skin on mine, makes me hurt for you. A sob rips past my throat, like a bird clawing free, and when I try to gasp inward, I find I can't breathe. 

Of course, you wipe the tears and scold me for grieving. 

I've been gone so long! Why are you weeping?!

It's all I can do not to crumple and deflate. My date is supposed to be here at eight. 

July 09, 2021 23:13

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2 comments

Shavonne White
21:14 Jul 14, 2021

Wow, your use of words is very colorful. The words jumped off the page and I seen a clear picture. Great job with the details.

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Zahra Monib
06:04 Jul 19, 2021

Thank you so much <3

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