Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Attempt

She had been arguing with him. She was angry at him and he was being angry at her back. They quarrelled. He said he's going to bed. She followed him into the room to continue with the argument. Bitter words exchanged. She stormed out of the room and went into the study and sat behind the bookshelf, on the floor, hugging her knees, pulling her body into a tight ball.
She did not bother to turn on the lights. There was light coming in from the hallway through the door that she left open but where she was crouching, it was dark.
She cried and consoled herself.
Why can't he love me just the way I am?
Is it so difficult to love me?

She doesn't know how long she had been crying, but she knows it had been quite awhile.
He'll come look for me soon.

She thought about all the arguments that they had had. They have all been the same. She says something, then he says something back and they get angrier and angrier at each other. It was always as if her feelings being hurt is her own fault, and as if he has never had anything to do with it.

She thought she heard the bedroom door open.
She looked for shadows on the parquet floor of the study. If anybody walked in the hallway, she should be able to see shadows.
No shadows.
but she thought she heard footsteps.
He should be looking for me.

She kept quiet and pushed her self further and closer towards the corner of the bookshelf and the wall. Trying to make herself fit. Taking comfort in the feeling of a solid thing pushing against her back and side.
She listened.
is that him opening closets?

She has always sought comfort in confined spaces. Under normal circumstances, she's almost claustrophobic. Elevators make her nauseous and nervous. Small cars make her feel unsafe. Even a ride on the subway bothers her, but she tolerates these things out of necessity.
When she's sad or depressed though, she'd look for the smallest and darkest space she could find.
Closets were her favourite.
She would sit among the bedlinen and towels at the bottom of the closet, and behind the hung clothes. Her feet and hands would rub on the softness of cool cotton (and her bum would thank her for keeping it warm and cushioned, not like the hard parquet floor she was sitting on now). Sometimes the hung shirts and dresses brushed and carressed her cheeks, comforting her, wiping her tears away, telling her everything would be alright, she will feel better soon. The smell of residual laundry detergent and fabric softener would mingle and tingle her nostrils, filling up her chest with a sense of .. cleansing.. of healing.

She remembers the first time he found her this way.
It was their first fight after living together.
He had decided to leave the house in anger. She cried and hid herself.
He came home, looking for her, but found her gone.
Shoes still around. Keys still in the bowl at the door.
He ran outside looking for a barefoot woman. She couldnt have gone far on foot.
He contemplated asking the neighbors, but decided not to, out of embarassment. They've only been married a month. They've just moved here for a week.
He searched the house again.
She heard him calling out for her.
Heard bedroom and bathroom doors open and shut.
Heard main door open and shut.
And open and shut.
She heard her bed creak.
Heavy breathing.
Then, blinding light in her eyes and warm air at her feet as he opened the closet door and found her.
Eyes all puffy and red, curled up like a ball
what have.. you .. *sigh* .. I've been .. *sigh* ... come here, baby.. as he held her hand and pulled her out of the closet and hugged her in their bed.
I'm sorry he kept repeating.

She thought she heard steps again.
And doors opening and shut.
She watched out for shadows approaching.

and then gurgling...
of water?
someone's taking a shower..

It's the neighbor.

And then it dawned on her.
He's not coming
He's not looking for me.

She laughed at her foolishness.
A breathy throaty silent laugh
that just shakes her chest and shoulders and head
and eventually turns into sobs
when the truth sunk in.

He's not coming
He's not looking for me

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