Chris sat on the floor against the cold radiator. His knees pulled tight into his chest, his head rested on the tops of his knees, tears streaming down his cheeks onto his arms and down across his shins. It was summer yet the air was cold as he shivered against the coolness of the radiator.
His tears had been relentless, his heart was breaking within a body already ruined and a soul that had seen far too much for his years. For one moment he feelt better for the expulsion of emotion and the next, embarrassed for the scene he was creating. He was the only one in his room so he knew that there was no reason to feel this way yet, he felt hopeless and alone.
The morning had started well. A fresh Monday morning with the summer air warm but the English weather clouds were creating a heavy burden on the day. He felt positive and up beat about what was ahead and how he was going to achieve his dreams. At seven am he climbed out of bed and lit a cigarette, inhaling the smoke, filling his lungs with a comfort which had became a routine. His life was all about the routine from getting up, smoking a cigarette, using the bathroom, making tea, eating breakfast, going for a run, showering (which had its own routine) ironing his clothes, moisturising and getting dressed. For most mornings this routine would take 3 hours, after which he would leave his flat for work or be busy chasing up the next good thing. This morning however, something was different. He couldn’t place why but he felt different and his routine didn’t flow or feel as it should. On being dressed he didn’t leave but he sat in the chair in the corner of his room. It was an old chair with a individual old smell, one that tells a story.
Three hours passed and all he thought about was her.
They had met at a hotel several months before and he had been smitten from the first time he looked into her green eyes. From that moment they had been virtually inseparable. There wasn’t a day, or hour that didn’t go by that didn’t contain a message. Talk of how they would be together one day and how they look forward to the next touch, kiss and when they no longer have to hide.
Thoughts of her and what she meant to him kept him in a stance, the activities from their most recent weekend together tore lines through his heart and laid tracks in his mind. The sequence of events that happened next was not what was expected.
At three thirty in the afternoon, his mobile rang, startling him out of his daze which had left him exhausted. The call had no name but he knew the number. It was the number that he never wanted to call or receive calls from. The call represented a part of his life that he so desperately wanted to leave behind. Chris ignored the call, his heart began to beat, anxiety flushed over his skin and presented itself in small beads on his forehead. He picked up his mobile and moved it to the other side of the room, it rang again and a third, fourth and fifth time. His dealer would not give up, not when he had money to be made. As he sat, his legs curled under him he realised that the life he was living could no longer be sustained, that there was no fight left, the belief had slipped from his fingers leaving him empty and alone.
His thoughts switched to her, his girl; the girl he loved and the girl he knew he would lose. The thoughts of her smile, her skin, the smell of her hair, the way she looked at him when they laid naked next to each other, the curve of her hips and the way she was able to entwine herself into him so that their hearts beat as one.
He was torn. They had an understanding, one of trust and honesty, it was the foundation of their relationship and it was what they both needed and deserved to start over - one last time. Chris lit a cigarette, exhaling slowly as his heart pounded, for he knew what he had to do, what he should do was tell her , he couldn’t continue on this path but the more he thought about it and the more he rehearsed the words in his head, the more smoke in the room pressed on his heart and his hope that she would understand. He couldn’t bear this pain, this burden of his life and the person he had become. There seemed only one option. It had been almost a year ago that this option was last attempted, it hadn’t worked then but now it seemed more important, for he had failed himself and her.
With a sudden sense of determination, he picked up his phone and redialled that last missed call. The instructions were clear, he was to meet in the usual place in twenty minutes. He hung up, holding his phone in his hands, he sat back in the chair, the enormity of what he had just done and what he was about to do made is breathing deep and hard. His phone buzzed, startling him from his rhythm, his pulse reverberated through his whole body as he read the message. It was her; she had text to say she was thinking of him - asking what he was doing with his day. He couldn’t reply, there were no words to say how he felt. Flipping the phone shut he placed it in his jeans pocket, picked up his door keys and left his flat.
Five minutes later the deal was done and he possessed his way out. Overhead the clouds were forming and the wind was starting to pick up, it was as though the elements were preparing the introduction; the scene being set for his last performance.