The heavy door of the old building slammed shut. He left the musty smell of the stairway behind and breathed in the cold air.
Their relationship had lasted for an eternity, but their feelings for one another had ended finally like a bag of worn clothes, abandoned and left leaning against the wastebins in the yard.
The smoke of her cigarette drifted over the balcony. He looked up to her; she looked down on him. Both glances mirrored a forfeited future, unfulfilled expectations. Her cigarette butt tumbled down and bounced on the cobblestones of the yard, releasing sparks like shooting stars.
She twisted the gold band upon her finger. Her hair hung down and covered her face. One could not see her tears.
It was still dark - and bone-chillingly cold. Under a streetlight, frozen mist swirled around him like glitter.The strong and fine dark lines of the trees against the January sky pointed like thin arms to his home.His apartment looked deserted as a crime scene. On the wall in the kitchen hung the expired calendar sheets with aphorisms. The sight of it triggered a strange sadness, it suddenly seemed as if the missing sheets marked not only a product that had become worthless but also a promise that could not be kept. Like a life that already began with false promises and then kept lying to itself up to the end.
Does life ever know a happy end?
Hesitantly, he went through the photos scattered like playing cards on the untidy table. In one they sat beneath the shade of a manchineel tree full of little apples. Their last holiday in Mexico. The photo was taken on the coastal beach among mangroves. There was a photo of his father. He remembered his funeral. A picture like a film clip appeared in front of this inner eye: A group of people had left the funeral hall and gathered in front of the entrance. Men in black well-fitting suits, with white shirts and black ties. The women dressed in black, elegant, in the latest fashion, Prada, Dior, Yves St Laurent. Black hats with discreet veils, the costumes figure-accentuating as if to oppose death with something, even if only lasciviousness. All with concerned faces full of hopelessness and shadows of triviality. Some had exchanged traditional hugs, promised him support, and then walked quickly to their equally black cars. He was left with the pain of death, loss, an eternal emptiness. He had not yet come to terms with the death of his mother, either.
Life knows no happy end.
He looked at his paintings on the wall, the remnant of an exhibition six years ago. In the meantime, his creativity had left him for good. What would happen to his pictures when he was gone? They might end up on the dump.
A few unfinished stories on sheets of paper next to his laptop. He was a columnist and wrote short stories with happy endings for a newspaper. The due date was nearing. He had not got anything done. He had no ideas, everything was empty in his head, a wasteland, no impulses, no inspiration.
He was tired of writing stories with happy endings because he was never convinced of their false romanticism.
Often, he thought that this existence was his purgatory, that he was punished for something in his former life when he had a love, he did not value, a talent he had not developed and friends he did not cherish.
The small yellow package of Nembutal, which he had bought in Mexico, in case, was still within the expiry date.
He pondered, went into the kitchen and took the last bottle of Malbeche had kept for special occasions.
is a translator and writer of poetry, haibun, haiku, and short stories. He writes in four languages: English, French, Spanish, and German and holds workshops on Japanese and Chinese style poetry and prose and experimental poetry. Member of four writer groups in Ireland. Lives in County Kerry, Ireland, for more than 25 years and is a proud Irish citizen, born in Germany. Published in over 150 anthologies, literary journals, and broadsheets in USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Spain, Italy, France, Bangladesh, India, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, and Nigeria.
Some of his poems, and haibun have been published in French (own translation), Romanian, and Russian language. He writes also under his penname Eadbhard McGowan.