It was the sound of something being dragged that woke her up. The garden looked like a winter wonderland from the window. It was her favorite part of the morning. Waking up to the beautiful view of the bedroom window. She moved her hand around on the bed looking for the sweatshirt and realized he was not in the bed. She turned on the lamp to really check and there it was, the empty side of the bed and her favorite college sweatshirt.
She walked down checking the time on the phone trying to put on the sweatshirt and just for a minute was time-tunneled to the good old college days when she lived in girls’ hostel and had some crazy fun. Her most favorite one was sneaking out every night to go for long drives with him. Nora Jones playing on a loop and of course chocolate ice cream. It was their way of making sure they watch every sunrise together, a deal they made when they started dating. It had been so long since she had made that kind of commitment to sunrise. Maybe today was the day when she would get to watch one again though without him and chocolate ice cream.
The hallway lamp was on, so she expected him to be in the kitchen. But to her surprise, it was all quiet down there. She noticed his wallet and car keys were not on the island. They were usually kept in the little basket on the island, but then again, he could have left them in his jacket too, which he did quite often these days. She picked up the basket to appreciate her stunning find at a flea market from 2 years ago. And made a mental note to visit it again next Saturday.
And the search continued, she started walking towards the basement, wrapping her arms around her chest like a hug. And just for a moment, she could almost smell him, his perfume mixed with the stink of cigarettes. How did that happen? She had not seen or spoken to him in over a decade, why did she think of it now? So made another mental note to google about it later. And went back to thinking of that one night they had driven so far from the hostel without a worry in mind. It was strange how those aimless drives on random roads brought so much pleasure. She smiled and actually felt butterflies in her stomach thinking of him. They were truly special together. She wondered why she did not go on drives anymore when clearly there was no one stopping her. They both were quite good at sneaking and never got caught especially since she used to be the first one for the 7 am class. But today, being awake at 4 am meant she would need an extra espresso shot along with the usual big mug of coffee. She made another mental note, Avocado & toast with boiled eggs, yes, breakfast was fixed irrespective of whatever the rest of the night.
The basement was so cold that she hugged her sweatshirt tight to feel warmer and yet again thought of him. This time of their first kiss. He had simply pulled her towards him holding her sweatshirt and when she smiled with tears in her eyes, he kissed her. It was a perfect end to the perfect long drive. She even gave a name to that moment, ‘buttonholed and kissed’. Thinking about it now she had tears in her eyes again, but for different reasons. It was like he knew her too well, all her favorites; late night, long drives, chocolate ice cream, and his kisses.
She finally came back upstairs and realized that the front door was left unlocked. As she was about to lock the door, she heard whispers this time, no dragging sounds. It almost sounded like an argument between a man and a woman, clearly her man and some woman. He was standing outside in his pajamas and tee without any jacket talking, hugging and trying to explain something. Just then her eyes followed the moon light coming from behind the beautiful pine trees and that is when she turned around locked the door and decided to go back upstairs to get some sleep before she had to wake up to start all over again. A day spent waiting for an imaginary day in the future.
Walking back up the stairs, she smiled hugging herself tightly and thinking of Avocado & toast with boiled eggs.