Day 8 of NaBloPoMo. I started this yesterday but was only able to complete it today. I’ve pushed on with this story as it’s been quite fun to write. Keen to hear how you think the plot is developing. For those that haven’t read the earlier parts, click here for part 1 and part 2
The evening sun was fading. It left me at my window with only the warmth from the coffee cup in my hands. The earlier vibrant blue sky had turned a moody grey-blue, with a distant golden horizon. Five days without seeing Michael had been complete torment. I still hadn’t come up with a plan of action. Since that day in the coffee shop, I found myself in pangs of anxiety wondering what would happen. Whilst I got my head together contact with Michael was restricted to What’s App only. He’d asked to see me a few times and though I wanted to, I couldn’t face him. I thought I might cry if I saw him and I couldn’t let Michael see that. So I avoided. Just like I avoided my ex after I found him in bed with Lizzie. I had no control over it, so it was futile entertaining it.
Michael meanwhile, had told his family about the job offer. They had the expected responses. His mum was devastated and didn’t want him to go. We both agreed she would come round eventually, once the initial shock had settled. Not that I was over the initial shock by any means. His brother Alex wanted him to be happy but would miss him. He had asked me if I would miss him. Of course I told him I had better things to do with my time. Really though, I missed Michael already. I was thinking about him as if I’d already lost him. I wasn’t functioning like myself at all. I didn’t want to work. I didn’t want to shop. All I could do was talk relentlessly to Ayesha about him. There had been a time when she used to always tease me about him. Now I was tormenting myself. I watched the clouds roll by and the trees turn dark from the green they had been just an hour before. My own timeline had been disrupted. I had become a spectator and was somehow losing out on life.
I soon came back to life when the door buzzed. I hadn’t been expecting anyone. I assumed it was one of the neighbours as I hadn’t let anyone into the complex. I strode over to the door and peered through the peephole. It was Michael! With flowers. Michael only bought me flowers when he knew something wasn’t right. I didn’t know what to do. I looked at myself in the mirror hanging beside me. Thankfully I hadn’t changed since getting home from work. I pulled my hair out of the bun and combed it out with my fingers. He knocked at the door again. Michael must have known I was close by. I forced myself to smile, drew a deep breath in and opened the door.
“Hey!” Michael smiled and immediately hugged me. It felt safe in his arms and I could breathe out all my fear. This didn’t last for very long, as the thought was superseded with the painful realization that I didn’t have many of these hugs left.
“You ok?” I had to do my best to be normal with him. We let go of one another and I led him into the lounge.
“I’m fine, but I know you’re not.” He handed me the flowers. They were beautiful Geraniums.
“Thank you Michael, that’s really sweet.” I turned away reaching up for the vase on the shelf. “Will just get some water.” I walked out into the kitchen. As I filled the vase at the sink, I took a moment to breathe. What was I to say to Michael? He was bound to quiz me about what had been going on. I felt the apprehension work into my chest. I breathed deeply, hoping to expel it all so I could just be normal again. I forced another smile and made my way back to the lounge.
Michael wasn’t saying anything. We sat in silence as I arranged the flowers. I knew he was watching me. It made me clumsy and I felt annoyed at myself struggling to dump some flowers in a vase. In the end, I had to put each one in individually to make them all fit. Once I had them arranged precisely, I moved them to the centre of the coffee table between Michael and I. He stared at me intently.
“Tell me then.” Michael began.
I had to act surprised: “What?”
“What’s going on?”
“I…. Nothing. Just work stuff.”
“Work never gets on top of you.” I had forgotten just how well he knew me. He looked straight at me. I couldn’t even read his expression. I broke eye contact and stared out of the window. It was quite dark now. I could make out the silhouettes of the swaying trees, standing tall and strong. “Zoe you’ve been ignoring me; not taking my calls and refusing to link up. You’ve never been like this with me before. What have I done?”
“Nothing! I’m sorry I’ve just been preoccupied.”
Michael moved over to the couch I was on. The aftershave he wore made me weaker. It was a favourite of mine that I had bought for him at Christmas.
“You don’t have to be sorry. Just talk to me Zoe. I don’t know what to do when you’re like this.”
“Michael, I don’t know how. I…” I didn’t know where the words were coming from and where they were taking me. I felt choked and afraid of what was going to happen. I was on the edge of the couch and I just broke in front of him “Michael I can’t, I can’t be without you. I just can’t. Don’t go. Don’t leave me. ” I cried. I couldn’t help it. It was all coming out and I just couldn’t help but lean into his open arms. He held me there like that. He didn’t say anything at all. I looked up into his eyes, suddenly afraid he was so quiet. “Say something please.”
Michael turned away and sighed.