I walked around the corner, shopping bag in hand. Inside, your favourite brand of apple juice.
Night was falling, and with that, a gloomy blanket of mist envelops the tall city buildings and bright city lights. A rustle of a cool breeze caresses my face, and I tug the hood of my jacket closer to my face with my free hand. The bag of shopping bumps against my knees in an irritating manner.
I climbed up the stairs to our apartment. Your once esteemed flowers now lay limp and dying of thirst in their flowerpots. I never liked your plants, to tell the truth. Instead, I kick them out of the way and open the door with a jingle of keys.
The photo of our parents lies on the desk as it always has been. Your smile illuminates the dull photo with life. I take a deep breath and step inside. The familiar smell of our home comforts me, and I remember the good times we shared together. I place the groceries on top of the kitchen bench.
I carefully remove your apple juice from its place in the bag and walk down the hallway into your room.
The room is a pristine white, a stark contrast to your personality. I faintly recall the sweet baby blue the walls once were, and the numerous posters of your favourite bands that were taped to every corner of the room. The desk where your computer once sat was empty. On your bedside sit four other bottles of your well-loved apple juice.
Five days. I watch the other bottles that sit on the bedside table. For a moment I could swear that they were empty, or was that a trick of light? I do remember that you are gone, but after so long, habits are difficult to break.
“Will you miss me?”
There’s your teasing smile.
I can’t help but giggle at your last words as you left for the taxi.
“We’ll see. Stay safe.”
Just a year more, not that I’m counting. I sit on your bed and hug your treasured soft toys and tears of loneliness threaten to fall from my eyes. I try to hold them back, or you might end me for staining your stuff with my ‘disgusting’ tears.
I miss you. I would never admit it though—not to your face, at least. I can already see your smirk from the thousands of miles that separate me from you.
You deserve to go see the world, even if I’m not by your side. This year will go by fast, for sure. I hope it will at least. Maybe, we could have done it together? I stand up from your bed with a smile and flatten the creases that I have made and walk out the door, leaving the fifth bottle of your favourite fruit juice on the bedside, next to the other four.
Written by Samadhi Samarathunga and edited by Kevin Xing. Published on 22/10/23. Header image by Cindy Zhang