My bags were packed, the suitcases standing tall and heavy against the wooden closet. Everything was good to go, except myself. Yet to get dressed for the journey I was about to embark upon, I stared at the clothes hanging from the closet’s handle.
A soft grey sweater, paired with dark blue jeans and combat boots. It was all simple but sophisticated enough that it looked like some effort went into the dressing. I’d be received by people who I didn’t necessarily wish to impress, but who’d want to deliberately look like a slob?
With a heavy sigh, I pushed myself off the revolving chair and went to the restroom to freshen up. Already showered, I made quick use of the toilet and began to put on some light makeup. Going for a soft glowing look, I examined myself in the mirror.
The face that stared back was as unfamiliar as a stranger’s on the street. It was altogether a different person. I was well aware that no one was standing in front of the mirror apart from myself, but couldn’t recognize the reflection.
She looked sober and resigned. Her eyes a little puffy, but eyebrows made perfectly, in addition to the high cheekbones, all presented someone a little tired but ready. Ready for what, I couldn’t assume. The reflection lifted a hand and gently pressed her fingertips to that face. Then, she held out both her hands in the air, and stared at them, clenching and unclenching.
Whose hands were those?
A shiver went down my spine, and with another sigh, I switched off the light and went back into the room. It was half an hour before I should’ve called the cab, but I found myself picking up the phone anyways. The room held the familiarity of a well-lived in a place, but it was also rather sad in the way it remained silent. A few months ago, there would’ve been a number of people, both here and in the hall waiting to haul the luggage downstairs, but now, it was just me.
I transferred the bags down with some difficulty, knowing I’d have to enlist the help of the cabbie to get them to fit inside the trunk, but it didn’t matter. I’d tip them well.
Numbly, I walked around the place, with nothing better to do but wait for the cab to arrive. There was pin-drop silence in the house, only disturbed occasionally by the slight rustling of my clothes. Pictures hung on the walls, the essence of a hundred memories captured in one frame as proof of the existence of a moment; proof that life had meandered through the passage of time, and together they had joined to both create and ravage what was now only shown by those pictures, and of course, my own memories.
Out of nowhere, or perhaps everywhere, the memories came rushing back. I saw all the people who had once been in the house, the children shrieking in glee, staircases and balcony’s adorned with decorative lights for a festival, one that had silenced all the laughter in the house.
The reality of my situation hit me so hard and fast, I almost collapsed due to the heaviness of my head. It felt as if someone had weighted down my head with tons of recollections. Dizzily, I stumbled to the foyer where the bags stood as I had left them.
When the cab arrived, I was gasping for breath as if I had run a marathon. Seeing the state I was in, he quietly assembled the luggage into the trunk. I thumped down in my seat, as the stream of tears made it hard to see.
We drove farther away from that desolate house, and I realized I was emptier than the structure itself.
It faded away into the distance, as I squeezed my eyes shut, fist in my mouth to prevent me from sobbing out loud at everything that I had lost, the memories of which I was walking away from.