James was exhausted as he finally made it into his apartment. Three flights of stairs carrying Chinese take-out and a dozen roses while pulling a large red cooler made him think that the high rises across town may have been the better choice – at least that one had an elevator. But then again, he thought, this one has allowed him to be with Helen.
The one bedroom apartment was packed with plastic bins and boxes. The move was uneventful but the unpacking has been slow and unsteady. He weaved his way to the short hall carrying the roses. He stopped outside of the bathroom. The bathroom door was cracked. James took a deep breath and pushed it completely open. The room was lit by a dozen or so candles – most were burnt down to the bottom and starting to flicker out. Helen was in the tub hiding in the shadows that the candle light couldn’t reach.
“I’m home, hon,” James said. “I bought you more candles. And…” James pulled the roses out from behind his back. On the bathroom counter was a glass vase with wilted and dead roses. He replaced those with the fresh bunch. “Can you believe it? One month already?”
* * *
James sat alone at the kitchen table slurping down his chicken lo mein. Beside him were new candles and air fresheners.
* * *
The candles were placed with the new ones. The room was brighter. James sat beside the tub holding Helen’s hand. He ran his finger softly over the veins on her hand.
“I’ll never forget coming off the subway. I was lost and got off at the wrong stop. I got spun around and turned bumping into you. It was love at first sight. I knew that I had to have you. Those blue eyes! As I turned to look for you, you were gone. I went back to the same place every day just to watch you. Then I struck up the nerve.”
He took a sip from his wineglass and regarded the memory.
“Remember when I followed you home? You knew I was there. That guy you were dating came out and waited for you. That’s when I found this place. A little expensive for my taste, but to be by you, priceless. Now look at us. Together. I never knew I had it in me. I’m not who I thought I was back then. You made me this way.”
Helen slumped down into the tub.
“You never screamed. It was like you wanted to come with me. I’m just sad how it turned out.” James stood. “Let me refill this.”
James pulled the red cooler into the bathroom. He lifted it up into the tub dumping ice in covering Helen’s body. He swiped the tattered brown hair from her face. The ice has slowed the decaying process down but her gray skin has bloated. Her eyes were like green marbles.
James raised his wineglass to her, “to another month of memories my love.”
Copyright © 2015 E.F. Olsson. All rights reserved.
Let me know what you think of this story in the comments below! If you like it, please share it with your friends on your favorite social media sites.
Make sure you follow me on Facebook and Twitter!
You can always get in touch with me by leaving a comment below or by email: EFOlssonAuthor@gmail.com. Thank you for lurking through the halls.