She made it to her room

She made it to her room, still dry faced, all of maybe ten steps across the landing from his room to her own. She put down her book, tablet and mobile, and felt her vision blurring as she turned. The bed came naturally, her only warm solace in her always below desired temperature room. The duvet and cover would hide her, and she can hug her stuffed owl and arrange the pillows behind her back as if there was a big spoon.

By the time she settled under the duvet, foetal position on her left, facing away from the door as always, her pillow was already wet. The tears came unrestrained, but her sobbing was muted – practice makes perfect, and living in shared accommodation provides plenty of practice.

She silenced her hiccups, and her heaving body trembled just enough to not make the half-broken bed frame creak. She wished he would come in and hold her, but there were too many barriers. He would never enter her room while she was in without knocking, and she would not trust herself to call out to him to come in even if he did come up to the door.

Time went wobbly. She was sure her wretchedness has gone on all night when she first surfaced from under the cover to unblock her nose, but her phone told her that it had only been twenty minutes since her heart broke for the umpteenth time. She had a few moments of clarity, followed by a new wave of wallowing in self-pity, and the circle seemed to repeat while a small pile of wet tissues built up on the floor.

If only he’d come in and hold her, and tell her it will be okay. He would probably tell her not to be so silly to cry over something like that, and that it will all work out in the end. She’d be happy with a silent but supportive cuddle as well, more than happy in fact. But then she imagined her wobbling body against his as she couldn’t control her tears… the way his arm would probably hold the layer of duvet between his hug and her body… the blotchy mess that her face would be… and her tears came hot and unending, knowing that even the imagined comfort is sullied by further self-pity.

He went to the toilet, then had a cigarette in the kitchen. Surely, if she could hear the kettle boiling through her own thundering heart beat from under the duvet, then he could hear her more or less concealed crying. Can she have perfected the art of silent suffering so well that he would not be aware? Or, perhaps even worse, but just as likely, he did hear, or realise, what was happening behind her closed door, and couldn’t, wouldn’t deal with it.

She made it to her room, still dry faced, all of maybe ten steps across the landing from his room to her own.

An hour and a half, maybe, or a slightly bit longer. A dozen or so tissues. A quick look in the mirror – the redness was not as bad as over an hour of crying could suggest, so she braved the kitchen. Emptying the wine bottle into a large glass and warming up the first meal of the day at seven p.m., small talk with him while he rolls another fag.

How many times did she say she didn’t like him smoking in the house?

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