Waiting For You

Entry by: Drew Hazell

10th November 2017
'I'll be waiting for you...'

She thought about how he kept promising that he’d ‘be waiting for her’ as he rotted away in the hospital bed amongst the machines and nurses. She lay on her island and thought about years gone by. Both of them lying side by side, basking in the glow, of the cheap halogen light bulbs. She hated those lightbulbs. She used to think he was just practical, she loved that about him. But he was just cheap-fisted. The things you love at the beginning are always the things that get on your wick at the end.
Her Island - well bed - was her favourite place in the world. It was ‘their’ favourite place in the world. Now he was gone, departed, deceased, left. She preferred gone. Left sounded like he had a choice.
They’d made things on this island, babies. Plans.
They sat huddled on the shore plotting the rest of their lives looking out at the rest of the world. Watching life go on around them. Now her cosy island felt desolate. She was a sole survivor.
He hadn’t died on this Island. He’d died on a different island. A metal island with wheels in a hospital corridor. The nurse who was supposed to be keeping an eye on him had forgot. Like a waitress who had forgotten to wipe a table. She didn’t think she had become bitter – she knew she had. She embraced it. Bitterness was easier than forgiveness.
At first when it was just them, they spent days on this little island, huddled together surrounded by a sea of clothes, takeout boxes and wine bottles. Just them and their island. People who were falling in love only needed a bed.
Gradually they had built the rest of the world around it. Bed side tables, wardrobes an old black and white T.V with a fidgety aerial and ornament’s that had become family heirlooms. The old black and white T.V that had been replaced and updated over the years and now there was a plasma 42 inch T.V attached to the wall.
It wasn’t always just her and him. Along came the children. Babies snuggled in between them. Then they became toddlers feigning illness and nightmares to share their parents island. Then they had gotten their own islands in their own bedrooms. In a blink of an eye they had flown off. They were never really that far away.
They’d had passionate sex on this island. Slow sex, fast sex. Trying too hard sex, or trying not at all. Good sex and bad sex. Then not so much sex, then just memories of sex. Sex was just a spark. It didn’t keep you warm all through the night.
They’re little Island hadn’t cost much. He had haggled the price down. He loved to haggle. Boot sales, department stores. She used to wish the ground would open and swallow her up.
A million people would walk past someone dropping litter in the street – not him. A million people would walk past a bunch of yobs swearing in the street – not him. A million people would walk past an elderly lady struggling with a hoard of shopping bags – not him. He was one in a million. For her he was the one in a million.
He’d nod off before they went up to their island, then pretend he hadn't. He was always the first to nod off. He was the first go.
There were freezing nights spent on this island. Chilly, teeth chattering, daring each other to get up first and make the tea. He always got up first.
The start of beautiful summer days huddled under the blankets, clinging to each other like they were on a life raft, hiding from the pushy sun.
It hadn’t been all beautiful skies and calm seas on this island. The shores had been battered by money worries. Infidelity (him not her) You either forgive or walked away. You never forgot! Breast cancer. (The left breast). The loss of parents. Hers and his.
There was always his side and her side of the island. Now he was gone and she was adrift, tossing and turning in the middle. She felt aimless. He was aimless. She didn’t know why they bothered having a toilet seat, she wanted to rip it off and frizz-bee it through the window half the time.
He snored so terribly. He used to snore so terribly. She’d lie awake on their island and wondered if that grating grunting sound was grounds for justifiable homicide. He hugged her too tight before they went to sleep. He used to hug her so tight before they went to sleep. She’d have to release herself from his grip like a contortionist slipping from chains.
Civilization kept calling but she didn't want to rejoin. The children, neighbours, friends.
Tables were so much bigger when they were just for one, bus seats were made for two, benches were made for two. The world wasn't designed to be be on your own.
The both of them had watched couples lose one half over the years. Some excelled with stubborn determination. Doing things they never would have done when their married husband or wife was alive. Cruises round the world or bloody tap dancing. Then there was the opposite. ‘He won't be far behind her…’ her husband would say shaking his head
She was angry he left her behind. He went somewhere she didn't. He went before her. If he left her for another woman she could be a victim and her anger could be shameless.
She tried to remember the terrible sound of his snoring. The thing that kept her awake most nights. Now these days she sobbed into her pillow, because she realised she couldn't sleep without it.
She sat on their island and opened the tub of pills calmly swallowing them one by one.
She started to feel herself slipping into darkness the blackness enveloping her.
She wondered if he would be waiting for her.