I hate to turn the corner from the hallway to the lounge. Avoiding it is a straining subconscious effort. I only go in there to clean, when it’s absolutely necessary. The lounge is one thing, but that turning, that moment before I can fully turn my head, and see the other side of the wall…
The rain isn’t stopping. A window in the lounge was left open. If I don’t hurry, the very old window frame will soak, discolour, perhaps even rot. I promised myself that I would respect this house, keep it as intact as possible.
The carpet, probably burgundy once, is a dusty brown. It stops there, where the hallway ends, and the lounge begins. Passing this threshold is always strange shock, the kind you want to shield eyes from. I don’t want to stand there, inside and out of the lounge at once. Standing in that spot feels like the instant before dropping a fragile object, feeling control slip, regret, and then defeat when the shards burst out. I feel unease, a grave anticipation at the thought of it.
I’ve stopped, at the end of the hall, before turning the corner. The pitter-patter of the rain is trying to push me along, and I tighten my jaw as pressure builds in my chest. I touch the edge of the wall, imagining that dreaded moment on the other side, breathing, waiting. I almost feel her fingers reaching out for mine.
The window. I’ve used it before to avoid the hallway. Circling around the house, I cheated, crept into the lounge from the outside. Still, I could not avoid starring at that spot, as though it were looking back. It must have been something horrible to live through, and I’m ashamed to say, that I fear sharing it.
I know her death was sudden and undeserved. They showed me the newspaper clippings, but nothing has been more telling than this corner, in front of the lounge. She’d been living alone, just like me. I want to be mindful of this home, it is still hers.