She couldn’t wait to arrive home. The snow had compacted and turned to ice on the pavements. Walking carefully she turned the corner onto her street. In limbo, Christina looked forward to being at work when she was in the flat and looked forward to being in the flat when she was at work. Taking her eyes from her glacial path she looked up and the sight in front of her glued her to the spot with her mouth wide open.
Ricky’s van was open and he and a friend were filling it with haphazardly packed boxes, a wayward sleeve trailing out of the box that was currently in his arms. She caught his eye, standing there on the corner and he too was unable to move. The massive consequences of his actions became real and heavy when he saw her.
As the realisation of what was happening filtered through, Christina broke into a march, her feet sliding beneath her, she was propelled along by the sheer volition of her strides.
‘You fucking coward.’ She screamed when she was arms length away from him. ‘You were going to just go without telling me.’
He stuttered trying to formulate an answer. It would have been a great plan if he could have got away before she got home. She was right, he was a coward.
‘Umm, I’m sorry … you want to go inside and talk?’
He gave her the puppy dog eyes, but it was just another cheap tactic to her now.
‘I think it’s a bit late for that. Here let me help you’ She fumed, almost knocking Ricky’s friend off his feet she stormed into the flat and started to carry the few remaining boxes through the open door, slinging them roughly on the ground.
‘Now give me your key and get the hell away from me and this flat you spineless, pathetic…’ She huffed unable to finish her sentence, holding out her hand while he fished around in his pocket like a child that had been told off.
‘Christina, I care about you… I love you, I just, I just can’t do this anymore...’
‘Oh save your breath Ricky, this says it all.’ She flung her arms wide to indicate the chaotic line of boxes leading to the jumble in the back of his van.
He fiddled with the bunch of keys, trying to detach the front door key while Christina stood with her hands on her hips, tapping her foot impatiently. She looked pretty sexy right now, fierce, full of passion and fire but Ricky suspected that if he opened his mouth he was at risk of having his head hit off his shoulders. He handed over the single key and inhaled as if preparing to say something but by the time he had looked up the door was slamming in his face.
She sat with her back pressed up against the door and cried. She wanted to scream, no the scream itself wanted to rip out of her lungs with a volume that could drown the whole world, the force it took to keep it inside caused her physical pain. It felt like her heart was actually breaking, not a romantic notion of her heart, but the ball of muscle and blood and pumps ached in way that felt as real as anything tangible.
It wasn’t just Ricky, even though he had left a massive gulf in her life, her plans for the future, she never thought he would really leave. It was also grief for her grandma, who had represented everything good she ever had and ever wanted. It was guilt at never trying to find out where she had lived, and consequently finding out she had been alive all these years – did she die thinking Christina had abandoned her? It was pining for a mother that she never had, who was within her reach again. Realising that in the deepest, weakest parts of her soul she wanted her mother to break down and weep and apologise for Christina’s childhood, to testify that she had thought about Christina every day, and to say she couldn’t go on without her daughter.
Confusion. Hate. She felt her world had disintegrated into chaos while she had watched and done nothing. And she knew that other people had bigger problems, poverty, war, disease, but she was simply unable to function.
He had followed her home from work, to observe her habits more closely. Because knowledge of her was power over her. He knew that she potentially had more power than he could ever wield, tenfold even, but she didn’t know it, so for now at least he was the hunter and she was the prey thanks to this fortunate turn of events. And what’s more, Ricky had done all the work for him.
He could hear the wailing in her mind. There were no words, just cries. Sublime pain, these kinds of emotions were like doorways into people’s souls and minds. He was the king of chaos and overwhelming emotions like these stole people’s reason and sent them out of control. Right now she was ripe to pick, and if you pricked her skin the feelings would burst out. He could drive her crazy if he could get in the same room as her, he could get right inside her head.
He sniggered at the sad sight of Ricky in the street, so childlike, instantly regretful now that the consequences of throwing Christina away were real. What an idiot to throw away a queen like Christina. Ricky’s friend jumped in the passenger seat of the van and slammed the door, Ricky took one last look at the flat, the inside and its contents forever locked from him now.
As the van rolled down the street, Sep crossed over, he was unable to keep the grin off his face. He just needed to think of a reason to be there, the little façade he’d witnessed had kept him so entertained he hadn’t thought of one yet. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted the regimented lines of the nearby allotment fence and had an idea.