Edward woke to the sound of his alarm but his eyes wouldn't open straight away. Like most nights he had stayed up beyond a reasonable hour and was now feeling it. His alarm was still buzzing but he struggled to find the energy to move. Eventually it stopped but he knew he would be having the same problem again in 9 minutes. He went though the same mantra in his head ‘just one more day’ and rolled to his side ready for the call to battle, the whistle that would signal him to charge over the top and into another day. The bell that tolled his doom.
The alarm sounded and he hit it straight away. The thought on his mind? The same as always. Her.
He sat on the side of his bed and surveyed his empire. Ash covering the floor, plates stacked high held together with the cement of dried food. Clothes to the other side of the bed, unwashed but likely to be reused. He checked his phone, 2 messages, neither of them from her.
Edward rolled back on his bed and lit a cigarette. He needed to do something. Make something of himself. When he met her he had been on the cusp of a solid writing career, nothing spectacular but at least something to put him on the ladder, a few articles here and there. She had liked that about him. The promise of potential. While they were together he had sat in bed and typed while she read a book next to him, occasionally quoting something in French from one of her poets. He had liked this. Thought himself an artist.
It didn’t last.
She had grown bored of his way of life and was moving on to bigger things. She had become focused on her career as so many did in their mid twenties. She worked in the city and it had changed her. The little romantic gestures that she had loved were gradually being outweighed by glitzy and what Edward thought to be pretentious nights out with work friends. He didn’t like to talk about work, especially the kind of work she was in. Eventually he resented the money she was earning and grew bitter towards her. That was the beginning of the end.
She moved out several months after and Edward began to slip between the cracks. He finished his cigarette and considered the mess. He stumbled over an ash tray as he walked into the kitchen and opened the fridge. Nothing but a can of beer. He opened it, lit another cigarette and lay on his bed.
He went online and checked her profiles on all the sites. Happy pictures with work friends on expensive holidays. He had messaged her several times but she never responded. The last message was left there; he couldn’t bring himself to delete it.
‘Great to hear from you, life is great thanks. The new flat is really nice and much closer to work. Hope you start writing again, I always liked that about you. Take care x’
That was four months before and the truth is he had stopped writing when it started to go wrong between them, and he had nothing but white noise and her face in his head now. It was all he had and she had taken it with her along with everything else. He had not left his flat in days and he felt like the walls were closing in on him. He picked up a book amongst the mess and read a few lines. Rimbaud. He didn’t speak French but when he read the pages he saw her, her deep brown eyes, her smile. His eyes filled with tears. He put the book down, then picked it up and threw it in the bin.
Edward text a few people to see if they were around. He thought that if he left the house his flat may seem less like a tomb. No answer. He went to the shop and got a bottle of whiskey. Returned and ran a bath. He put on some melancholic music and got in, whiskey bottle clutched in his hand, packet of cigarettes on the toilet next to him. The album finished and he stayed in the bath, in silence finishing the whiskey or the cigarettes, whichever came first.
When he towelled off he felt very light headed. He sat at his desk and looked at the pictures of her he had still kept there out of some torment. He ran his finger across the surface of the desk and it was caked in dust. Dead skin. Fragments of both of them locked together. He hadn’t thought of this before and placed his face against it, trying to breath in something of her. When he lifted his head he realised that he was crying. The bottle was empty.
He took a belt and hooked it to the top of his bedroom door. Edward sat on his bed and looked at it. Was this to be it? He couldn’t see any way he could turn this around. It was her. Always her. She was his test on this earth and he had failed. He walked over to the bin and pulled out the book, he needed one last look at those eyes, hear her voice and see her smile. The words unintelligible to him but she was in all of them. He lit the last cigarette in the pack and sat on the bed, reading words that seemed almost holy to him, he placed the book over his face dreaming of better times. When he pulled it away it was damp.
He closed his bedroom, door.
Poor Edward was doomed.