Slowly, as though she has been steering herself for this exact moment since the day she was born, she turns the knob and opens the door.
His apartment looks neater than she allows herself to expect since the last time she was allowed here, two-and-a-half months ago.
Apart from him, two other people are there; two girl friends of hers whom she trusts and considers as almost-family, but not anymore, after she looks closely, and one of them sits in his lap like a great feline beast mewling its satisfaction at his ministrations, stroking hairs back and forth, back and forth.
Back and forth.
Back and forth.
“Hello,” the second girl says to her, and promptly disappears into the kitchen cooking something that he likes better than her own cooking, perhaps.
For a moment, she stands there awkwardly, as though an observer in someone else’s dream, wondering slightly if she has the right to demand for answers, or for apologies, or for blood. In retrospect, she knows this is about to happen, has been warning him for months about the odd feeling in her chest that something is amiss about him and these girls.
And so it happens, that instead of the numbness and resignation she expects, a surprising, slightly-out-of-place gnawing, ice-cold burning sensation should clutch at her heart.
It tastes suspiciously like anger, or perhaps it was the blood in her mouth where her teeth had dug a niche in her tongue.
Vaguely, she recalls a time in the distant past when, at the age of four, harboring entirely too much anger for her little body, her screams fill the crisp summer’s night and a glass of water standing innocently beside her shatters unceremoniously.
The girl in the kitchen drops a pan, breaking the (pseudo?)-calm surrounding them.
The sound triggers something in her, a primeval instinct that thrums happily through her blood as though it belongs there, and she strides to where he sits with the leopard in his lap and she demands of him, why, why, what haven’t I already done for you, what haven’t I already given you, why why why!
He says he doesn’t love her, how could anyone, she is pathetic and she gives too much of herself away—look what happened to you and me, you can’t blame me ‘coz you gave up everything on your own, and I hadn’t asked for it. These girls were what I want, have been wanting; what all girls should be, shallow and simple. They don’t ask to be loved back like you do!
Her ears weren’t working properly anymore at this point; an insistent buzz has taken over from the time the cold had frosted her heart into permanent solidity.
He offers some more words to make himself look victimized, but not nearly enough, and in fairness to it all, she doesn’t think any words could hardly be enough for someone who has gone where no one can reach her; a tiny, compact space in another dimension where there is so much competition to get out, to explode—
The lights go out, a power failure yet again in this suburban section of the universe, but though no one could see anything in the dead of the night, she is all the more aware of the scent of him which she had once dearly loved. Sandalwood and earth. Sweat and something else she could never place. It fills her, but the thumping in her head grows louder, not drowned in the least by the voices of the two careless, guiltless girls who complain in the background about the lights.
He takes this opportunity to stand and bolt for the door, and even though she is standing in his way, he gets past and ahead. She follows after him with the purposeful stride of someone who knows justice is in order or there will be hell to pay. Always behind him, she puts one foot in front of the other methodically, as though she was learning to walk for the first time, but this has always been the case with him and her — he isn’t comfortable anywhere else but ahead, and she had loved him enough to follow in spite of where he had led her.
Outside, it isn’t raining like she would have loved for it to be. There is nothing amiss with the world, no telltale signs as to the turmoil happening in the tiny space separating them.
Get away from me, he says angrily, like he has always said it to her for weeks on end. At one time, she has thought about it, getting away from him, that is, but too much damage had been done to just walk away from it, and justice had to be done…
You get away from me—it was at the tip of her tongue to say, for it is an unfathomable evil for anyone to just grab someone’s heart and tame it, force it to love you and worship you and be yours, and cast it aside once you’re done with it. No one deserves this kind of treachery, the most painful of all, to be lulled into submission and KILLED, and you are left there hanging, not quite dead, but killed nonetheless.
The burning thing in her heart has grown more than ever, more than it has ever been in her entire life, and at once, she is that four-year-old again, with entirely too much energy, too much power to fit the threshold.
She looks at him in the eye, but has to close her own when she screams, shrieks, and bellows at the top of her lungs, as loud as she could—a battle-cry of a lioness whose cub had been ravaged—immense sorrow completely indistinguishable from vicious anger.
Her vision shifts a little and the next thing she sees is her own body on the sidewalk, unharmed, with eyes wide open but unseeing. He is in the street, possibly calling for help at her sudden collapse. But a bus driven by a big man with a hangover runs him over, flesh and bone, and with much more justice than was right in the cosmos that it could have been retribution.
And just like that, his brains are on the asphalt where no one can pick them up and put them back together.