The Room by Vica Miller

“I feel like something has ended between us, died. Can you understand this?" she asked without lifting her eyes. “You were not there to hold my hand. And I really needed my hand to be held yesterday. I cried sitting by the window. It was raining. Some guests saw me, and left the room. I was thankful that they didn’t ask questions. Then I stopped crying, but died a little inside. Do you know what I mean? I thought you’d left me. Then you wrote. I realized you simply hadn’t thought of me all day. How is it possible not to think of someone when you love them? It’s not possible. So I cried more, and finished the bottle of wine, and went to sleep. When I woke up, I was alive, but knew that it has died. That thing between us, the fire that’s been burning for five months, making us alive, was no longer crackling, has folded onto itself, only a few branches hissing under the raindrops.

How do I know?

I try to recall the look in your eyes when you made love to me, and can’t. It’s as if someone put a mask over your face, or blindfolded me from seeing what used to be there. I want to write you words of love but none come. It’s as if I opened the door to the room that’s been our sanctuary and instead of the wet warmth of crumpled sheets found a hard bed without a mattress, the wind howling through a broken window, and mice running over a dirty floor sprewn with hay. I don’t want to enter that room, so I shut the door, and take a deep breath. I wonder if anything has been in that room before. What if I imagined it all? The complete certainty of love, the coziness of belonging, the exhilaration of being yours, the peace of having arrived in someone’s heart and hands, of not wanting to be anywhere else, only in that room, which is the whole world. Where did it all go? I’m afraid to enter the hollow emptiness of this room now, but the door flies open in the wind, and I see individual splinters of the scratched floor, the broken single bulb above the rusting bed, the faded squares on the crumbling walls where pictures used to hang. It’s decrepit and cold in there, the warmth gone out through the broken window, with nobody left to mend the damage. This room that held so much laughter and music, where two sweaty bodies fused in loving and collapsed breathless, where words were uttered and pictures taken, that room is a ghost now, its magic gone. It’s cold inside, because death is cold. I don’t feel you anymore. I don’t feel me either. I simply don’t feel. Yes, that’s what death is. When you no longer feel." She lifted her eyes.

He sat motionless, his face ashen, eyes fallen in. He didn’t say anything. Maybe she killed him with her words. She didn’t mean to. She just wanted to explain what she felt. And what she felt was nothing. So they were both dead then. For each other, they were dead now. Should they organize a funeral, make it into a party and invite all their friends, the few who knew of their affair? They can dance on the coffin of their love, and have fun, and try to convince themselves that everything is for the best; that pain is what makes us human, and if we feel pain, perhaps we’re still alive; that time heals. But what does it heal? You can’t heal death.

“The room is empty and cold. I don’t want to go back in there. No, let’s not do a party either. Let’s just walk out and keep walking. I’ll walk East, and you’ll walk West. And maybe one day, in a thousand days, we will meet again, because it must be possible to circle the Earth in a thousand days."

"So that’s it then."

Even though we’ll be walking in different directions, we’ll eventually meet again. Unless one of us finds another room on the way, and enters it, and it will be so warm that there won’t be a need to ever walk out of it again.


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