greyspace

G. ~600 words.
When life isn’t what you expected it to be.

Standing at the doorway, he paused to watch the glow of the setting sun fade from the window. Thinking again. Another day done, everything had changed. The room had grown dim. He didn’t bother to turn on the light.

The couch from Ikea was there. The perfect couch, she had said. He agreed. Perfect for an afternoon nap, for sinking into to read that tattered book he had bought from Mrs. Peterson’s used bookstore. For holding her. She loved the style, it matched her Martha Stewart curtains.

The glass coffee and end tables that he was never sure he liked, they were there too. Her magazines in a careful pile, his notes spread haphazardly beside them. Picking them up, he found one of his old text books. It wasn’t supposed to be there. He turned, walked to the bookshelf, and slid the volume back into its place. The shelves were cluttered, row upon row of books, old and new. Mostly his.

Eusebius stood next to Chaucer, with Wilde laughing at them both. Poe, Saint Augustine, and John Camp’s The Archaeology of Athens. The bottom shelf held books from his childhood. Dr. Seuss, a staple for all young readers. He smiled, crouched down to run his fingers across the slim bindings. See Spot Run and The Hardy Boys, Calling on Dragons and Spider-man. Picture books, comic books, novels. Pulling one from the rest, he turned it in his hands. The cover was bright, colourful. The Undesired Princess and the Enchanted Bunny. The Paperbag Princess meets the White Rabbit, and Alice doesn’t like it. Silly stories. He’d saved them all, hoping his children would love them as much as he. The smile faded. He left the room.

Down the hall, to the left, there was the kitchen. It was clean, orderly, empty. Tiled floors, wooden and glass cupboards, hard marble countertops. No bubbling pots, no baking cookies. She didn’t like to cook, it was inconvenient. Michelina’s, Swanson, they were the makers of his meals. There was no lingering scent of warm food, the feeling of company. The heart was cold. He didn’t go in.

The stairs were further down, on the right. The hall was hardwood, as were the stairs. And the banister. Stylish prints were set just so on the walls. The oak pedestal table at the top of the landing held only one pillar candle, and the tiny gargoyle statue he had bought from a street peddler in Paris, at the Notre Dame during their vacation. A replica of one of the many gargoyles perched on the cathedral, one that functioned as a rainspout. It stood grinning at him over its shoulder, long tongue stuck out as it rudely waved its naked rear end in the air. The more he’d thought on it, the more he’d loved it. Grinning gargoyle atop a church, letting his droppings fall onto the heads of the faithful. She hated it.

The bed was made, the curtains drawn. Her vanity neat and organized. Elizabeth Arden, Chanel, and Christian Dior covered its surface. Men knew nothing of beauty, only women could. He took the case, turned his back on the mirror. In the hall, on a whim, he picked up the gargoyle. Stopped at the door, looked at it again. He set it down in the spot she always placed her keys, tugged off his ring and let it dangle from the tongue. And left.

End

One Response to “greyspace”

  1. Timmi Says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. I’ve reread it three times, and something about it just strikes home.
    The feeling of having everything and nothing.
    Amazing.

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