This is the second part of a fiction serial, in 712 words.
I waited until Luke had left for work before emerging from the bedroom. Sleeping on his bed had made me feel dirty, but there was no way I was going to use his shower, as that looked even dirtier. A quick glance showed that a large percentage of his too-long dark hair was living around the drain and the base. Using the toilet to have a pee was bad enough. I reckoned I could have had a competition to estimate when that had last been cleaned. The inside of the bowl looked as it it had been varnished. I would use the shower at home, when I went back to get more stuff.
Wandering around Luke’s small flat, I shook my head at the mess, and the stuff piled up everywhere. He even had his old Transformers, from the days when we played with them as kids. It felt as if he had never thrown anything away, and had lugged it all with him from his mum and dad’s when he bought the flat.
I didn’t understand why he didn’t employ a cleaner. He had a great job, and earned twice as much as I did. He could have even bought a much nicer flat, with spare rooms to hide all his crap away. But he said he didn’t like the idea of anyone looking around when he was out, so obviously preferred to live like a pig in his sty. The fact that he had money was evident in many other ways. The enormous television, the latest and best you could buy. The new car parked in the underground car park, a rare import that turned heads whenever he drove it. Fancy pairs of trainers that cost as much as one of my whole outfits, and the most expensive mega-speed broadband and streaming package on the market.
I knew I had to get moving, or my car parked on the street would get a ticket. Might even get towed away if I wasn’t quick.
Driving back, I took a stupidly long route, as I wanted to be sure Becky would have left for work when I arrived. That gave me too much time to think about the fact that I was going to have to go back to my parents later, and ask them if I could move in until things were sorted between us. There was no way I could tolerate staying at Luke’s. Not unless I got a firm in to deep-clean the place first. Besides, I didn’t intend to make the split too final, too soon. Going back to my parents would give a better impression than moving in with a single friend. Let her stew about things for a while, and hope that we could get back together before it became accepted that we weren’t.
So much to consider. Mutual friends, both of our extended families. Ten years of being together, almost like one person.
Maybe that was the problem. People said we were inseperable. Not just husband and wife, but best friends too. How many times had I heard both of us say that we no longer needed anyone else, now we had each other?
Even after one night away, walking back into my own place felt strange. Like I was a burglar, unwanted.
An empty bottle of Pinot Grigio on the coffee table told me that Becky had probably had to drink herself to sleep, and the smell of her morning routine was still clinging to the bedroom, making me miss her more than I had ever thought possible. At least she hadn’t packed up all my things into suitcases. I sat on the bed, my body feeling strangely heavy. We should have been going away for five days today. I had taken the time off, and booked the trip as a surprise. Becky’s face had fallen at the news, and she was adamant that there was no chance of her getting away. Work was too busy to allow unexpected leave, and she said I must have been crazy to think she could just ring in and say she was on holiday.
She was right of course. I had been impulsive, stupid. I hadn’t thought it through.
That was how the argument had started.