BY SEAN LUSK – 23 JUNE 2020
They have gone, after all. And their advice was never right. They slurped their tea and liked to sleep with the windows wide open, even in January. They started crosswords but could never finish them without your help. Also, they began sentences without finishing them but would get cross if you tried to guess what they wanted to say.
They loved you, but not well enough to stay alive. And didn’t they often tell you they wanted to die? When you were walking along the cliff top and told them that you were thinking of leaving. That time. But then you stayed. And after a while they seemed themselves again, slurping their tea, opening the windows too wide, laughing at nothing, and sometimes at something.
Forget the dead, for there is no point in having a conversation with them. They never listened anyway, even though they could repeat every word you said to them. Forget their clothes, which seem now to be in every drawer, on every hanger, long after you have taken every last thing to the Oxfam shop. Forget their smell, which was theirs alone and which they really ought to have taken with them, not left here to stop you finishing your sentences, leaving crosswords half-done and making you throw the windows wide open, even in January.
This story was long-listed in the Spring 2020 Reflex flash fiction competition.