“It’s obvious!” She shouted as she walked away, swinging her arm up in the air in a gesture of angry dismissal.
He was left standing in the middle of the room dumbfounded. He did not expect such a reaction. She had always been impulsive, and he had witnessed, and experienced her anger, or fury, in the past. But this?! He had to go. It was obvious to him, but he had asked her to come with him. She somehow came to the conclusion that he wanted to go alone. That he wanted to leave her.
With his hands on his hips, his eyes fixed on the floor, he shook his head and swung around on his heels. He slowly walked towards the small fridge under the kitchen bench. It was almost 3 months since they moved in here. A small granny flat; one bedroom, a living area just big enough for a couch, a TV and a small table. The kitchen bench was just big enough to house the fridge undeneath. A stove and a sink made up the inventory. It got rediculously hot most of the time. The fan was on all the time, windows open right through, and still hot. He opened the fridge and reached for a beer.
“Ooohhhh, what now?” He exhaled and contemplated his future. He was presented with a great opportunity. It would be an awesome adventure and possibly a life changing experience. He had made up his mind, but what about Jo? Is that it?
He walked out onto the little porch. It was still hot outside. After a forty-degree day, the sun was coming down, but slowly. It would be hot for some time yet. The grass was a yellow-brown in colour; no evidence of green grass anywhere to be seen. In fact there was no green anywhere, yellow-brown dominated in the delirious hue of the heat. It was a quiet afternoon, those who were not at work were at the beach or at the pub.
The hours went by slowly. The unbearable lightness now subsided, as did the heat. There were finally some signs of life – children riding bikes amidst the cheering and yelling of a cricket game being played a few houses down the street, someone watering the dead grass and the scent of sausages being cooked on a BBQ.
It had been hours. She had not come back.
He settled himself in the seat. Streched his legs forward as far as he could. It was dark outside, humid and warm. The bus was mostly full, the driver had just shut the door and began pulling out of the bus station. He was on his way.
The events of those few days started coming back to him as the bus drove through the night. The long wait. She had been away for days. No word. No one knew where she was. He had fallen asleep on the couch. Woke up just as the day was breaking and saw that she had not come back. He made a few calls about eight. Her friends had not heard from her. No one in town had seen her. By the afternoon he was worried. That night he went to the Police station, he told them she had not come back and she had nowhere else to go.
“What happened between you and your girlfriend that afternoon? they asked. The neighbours heard yelling. They did not see anyone come out of the house. The cops thought that she may still be in the house. They searched the granny flat the next morning. They looked dissapointed having found nothing inside the flat. Yet he still remained the number one suspect. Somehow everyone in town qickly saw him as a killer. It became obvious to all onlookers that she was dead, and he was the one who killed her.
He was finally falling asleep. It had been days since he slept, and despite the memories flashing before his eyes, his body had enough.
Possibly in a dream, he saw her. She was wearing the same dress as the day when she stormed out, furious and convinced that he wanted to go without her. His dream somehow took him to happier times; times separated by just days from the terrible events that followed their fight.
As if to remind him that only sleep will bring him comfort, but sleep is at a premium his memory will not afford him, he woke up again. Back to reality. Back to the darkness of the bus. Now he saw her again, dressed in dirty jeans and an old shirt. A man’s shirt. That is what she was wearing when she finally came back. Unaware of the shit storm she had caused, she just turned up in an old, beaten up Ford, to get her things. Her new flame sat in the car, watching and making sure no harm came her way.
They had exchanged a few angry words, but he was crushed, he felt nothing. The last few days had been a nightmare. Accused of his girlfriend’s murder, tortured for days by the gossip, the stares and guilt. Yes, he felt guilty – maybe he was too selfish, maybe the news of his great new job and the impending move hit her too hard? It was all a blur, a delirium; he simply did not know what was happening. The final blow crushed him – it took just a few hours for her to forget all about him and their fight; while he was going through a nightmare she was oblivious to the world around her, shacked up with some bloke she met at the pub.
He packed up the next day, and waited for his flight out. But it would be sometime before he was himself again.