The wind is fighting with the olive tree on our balcony and across the Manchester rain I know that somewhere, you are there. I sit with the window a jar, too cold outside to let it in, too hot inside to hide. My pyjamas stick to me, my legs stretched out to cool down.
It’s been days since you left. Your things are still here; toothbrush, underwear, some books. Things I thought you couldn’t live without. Maybe I was wrong. Your dirty towel is on the back of the chair, damp, unwashed. I haven’t done any washing since you left. I reach my feet out to touch the cool wall, stroke my toes down it. My bedroom light’s turned off. The olive tree dances in front of me, asking for an escape.
The ice cubes have melted in my whiskey. I thought I wanted one but once it was in my hand that was enough. Before you left you said something. You said: ‘time will heal, but never repair.’ I wish you were wrong. I wish I could repair this.
I watch the flats opposite; the towering balconies. When we first moved in someone had built a family of snowmen; two large ones on chairs and a small one on the concrete. Piles of snow were left on the table where they had it gathered to build. It looked like a picnic, like the snowmen were real. We joked about competing but never did. Eventually we thought the olive tree was enough. No one else had one.
I wonder if you’re over there now, in a flat opposite, spying on me like I’m spying on you. We could be looking at each other and not realise. I squint; try to look deeper into the windows. I swirl the whiskey in my glass. Smell it. The smell of you, the smell of your favourite things.
I imagine your face in the dim light opposite, watching me, watching you.