One heart beat, rapid in its rhythm, weak in its disposition, holding at bay the silence that should have been. Somewhere, in the vastness of the cosmos, a star succumbed to the throes of time. Reluctance, fear and a host of timeless emotions were absent in its explosion, dazzling the blackness of space around it with never before seen splendor. Above a house surrounded by the earth’s growth, unseen by blackened clouds, a single starry light shone brightly and winked out of existence.
On the bed he sat, unable to look down at what he knew lay before his feet. His eyes were faded and dry, his lips without a quiver. Hands remained clenched in a fist, one palm feeling the bite of metal; the other an uncomfortable stickiness. In his chest, his heart still pumped. Whether what it pushed was still red, one could only guess. Something broke within him, he couldn't say what. Knees reached up to touch rib cage, fist blocking the world from his sight, body rocking back and forth for an unknown stretch. Feeling was lost, emotion tightly sequestered in a chamber of his soul he did not know he had. He was no longer Namdi, merely a shell that possessed motion and the most basic of thoughts.
Eyes opening to a world of gray, his body moved. Its goal the opened door leading to the bathroom, rose stems pushed aside unnoticed. As rug switched to tiles, his shoes crushed varying coloured pills scattered around. In the silence they discharged cannons, 21 in number, an unintended salute. He faced a sink, the drain unprotected, the counter top home to fallen empty and nearly empty pill bottles. Picking up a bottle he read the label, 'Herceptin'. Tossing it aside, he picked up another, 'Gardasil'; and another, and another, 'Afinitor', 'Xeloda', 'Avastin', 'Fentanyl'. Fentanyl remained in his hand, a shake rewarding him with the rattle of a few pills. Setting it down carefully, he looked up to see a mirror that had always been there. On it a faded heart drawn in red with two smudged words within.
A shell of a man watched him, eyes lacking the vitality of the living, replaced with an unseen smolder. On his sunken cheek was a red smudge, similar in colour to the fingers of one hand, giving his face a fierce but haunted presence. Curly black hair that had lost its shine hung limply on his head. Reaching down he opened the faucet, the running water pure; And clean; And untainted; its sound eradicating the silence. The temperature fell within the room, sharing its displeasure at the breaking of the tranquility that had just been achieved. He felt none of it, his hand dipping beneath the man made waterfall. A closed fist opened in a bid to wash the foreign entity off the other, forgetting it held something within. The clatter of metal hitting porcelain was crisp and clear. Instinctively he reached out, grabbing the chain before it was forever lost in the labyrinth beyond the rim of the drain, the attached pendant familiar in its design. Into his pocket it vanished.
Over and over he scrubbed his fingers but the red specter remained. Giving up, he attacked the smudge on his cheek, achieving similar results. He began to feel a phantom ache. One he could not afford to let breathe air. Without a word, his fist struck out, its target the man who watched him. Inches away from the mirror his strike stopped. The Fentanyl appeared in his palm before disappearing into his mouth and down his throat. How many, he was not sure. Water soon followed. The ache faded, tamped down, returning to the dull gray it had once become. Turning, he walked away from the image, the rattle of connecting chains unheard.
At the door to the room he stood, holding the handle, unable to take the step that would leave it all behind. As gray as the world had become there remained a bit of colour crumpled on the floor. Though he did not look, a corner of his mind knew she was there, or was it it? A corner he refused to visit for only destruction waited for him. Still, he could not turn that handle. Having no other recourse, he walked back. In a world of gray she lay there in vibrant colour. Breathtakingly beautiful in unadorned splendor. Her image burned into his mind, never to be forgotten, to live on till his last breath. Grabbing the opened wine and glass from the table he walked out, the handle turning with no hesitation, closing behind him, trapping a drawn breath.
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