I woke up with an angry grunt. Even while sleeping my anger had not abandoned me. I opened my eyes licking my dried-up lips feeling thirsty. I was not sure what it was, but I was sweating on my sheets. It felt disgusting, to be lying in a puddle of sweat. I peeled myself from the sheets like a sticker one leg at a time. I hadn’t slept properly since our fight. And that was 10 days ago. I tried to remember his itinerary, in my half sleepy and half angry mood, but I was totally blank. The water bottle next to my bed was obviously empty adding to my irritation.
I dragged my sweaty feet across the room to the kitchen. Even after 5 years of living in this apartment, I had not made it into a home for myself. Mostly because of my unpredictable working hours. I came home only to shower or sleep. And that is exactly why I had the most comfortable mattress and the best bathroom in the whole building. Well, that is what I thought. Dev never had any problem with my way of living. He was very comfortable with my non-clingy and nomadic way of living. I tried one more time to remember when was his return flight scheduled, but to no success.
Walking into the kitchen, I grabbed a fresh glass to drink water from the cabinet. The sink was full of dirty dishes because I was too angry to do any cleaning before going to bed that night. The water tasted sweet and fruity. I don’t know why that is. Every time I drink water in the middle of the night, it always tastes so sweet. I had another glass just for the taste of it, even though it was weaker this time. And then I had that sinking feeling again. I had not felt this kind of restlessness in a long time. The last time this happened was when my dad was in a car accident. It was a horrible night. One that I will never get over. Not in this lifetime at least.
Dad had really liked Dev the first time he met him. Dev and I had grown up in the same town but went to different schools. I can’t remember when our friendship turned into a relationship, but it felt like a lifetime ago. And here I was standing alone in the middle of the night thinking of him, but still angry. Strangely, I could not remember why? I tried hard to remember why I was angry at him and then I heard it. It was like a soft whisper right behind me. I turned around like I was a protagonist in a horror movie. Turning around to find no one, but just the dark badly lit side of the room. Simply because I was the only at home tonight. Dev had not come back from the trip.
I shrugged the feeling off and went to the refrigerator to find the chocolate cake. There was only 1 piece left. Any other night I would have had to fight with Dev for the cake but not tonight. I picked up a dessert fork to dig into the piece forgetting all about scary whisper I had just heard or imagined. But it did not last long.
This time I heard someone whisper right behind me. I froze with fear for I could see from the corner of my left eye the curtains moving. I put the fork down slowly and turned around with a quick jerk, like I was going to scare the entity that was trying to stop my heart. I stood up fast and turned on all the lights to check every corner of the apartment. I sighed angrily when I could not find anyone behind the curtains or the couch or under the dining table. I was still applauding my brave move when I heard something fall in my bedroom.
Now I was honestly scared. And even more angry at Dev. I was angry at him for not being home tonight to save me from my crazy self. At least now I had a reason, I thought to myself. I stood still scared not to disturb the air and gathered courage to walk slowly to the bedroom. Wiping my face and neck of the sweat glancing in the mirror right next to my bed, I realized my reading light was left on. I tried to remember if I left it on while reading earlier or did I turn it on when i woke up a few minutes ago. Leaving the unimportant thought midway, I climbed into the bed grabbing the book and adjusting the light to read a few more pages before I dozed off. The Likeness by Tana French, had finally become interesting enough for me to reading at odd times. But I could not read at all. I kept thinking of how angry we both were at each other that night. And for the first time in years after the fight he had not hugged me while sleeping. Nor did he whisper in my ear to sing for him while he dozed off. Strangely, Dev was the only one who liked my singing, or at least thought I could sing. The next morning, he had left for his trip without saying a word. And I went on with my routine. None of us called to apologize or check on each other.
I was shaken out of my thoughts by the loud ringing of my phone. I swear it scared a little pee out of me. I got excited seeing ‘Dev calling’, only to realize quickly it was not him but some woman. The moment I heard the word ‘accident’, I lost my mind. I felt dizzy unable to breathe. After the call ended, I remember driving to the hospital that was an hour drive from my apartment. I spent the next 5 hours pacing the hallways of the hospital waiting.
He was still asleep when I was allowed to see him. I moved slowly trying not to make any noise. But I could no longer hold it in anymore. I had stayed strong the whole night and now I let myself go. I cried holding his hand gently letting my tears fall on his bruised hand poked with needles. And I still could not remember why we had fought just before his trip. He opened his eyes smiling at me and said, “I guess this means our fight is over?” I replied with a confused look, “what fight?”
And then he smiled at me whispering, “how about a song then?”