I knocked at the door. Her voice mail had been full for days, she wasn't taking my calls. The agony she felt still spilled over into me, the attempts at emotional suicide, though isolating her more, only increased her pain. I could tell, just as she could always tell with me.
I knocked again, louder. Then again and still again. The slow contemplation of using her hidden key to gain entry was brought up short by a timid fumbling of the door's dead bolt then knob. A slow creaking open of the door revealed my disheveled friend, dressed only in a man's white button down shirt polka-dotted with tears and red boy shorts.Sorrow was not a good look on her, I thought as she stood gasping and trembling, half hiding behind the door.
"Hey, can I come in?:" I asked without any intention of walking away. Lips trembling, tears still rolling down her cheeks and hiccups disrupting the gasps for emotional control, she merely walked away from the door over to the living room and sank back down onto the couch. As if automated all on its own, her hand crept to a tear soaked pillow in a khaki case, clutching it like a spider to a fly before hugging it to herself as her last protection against the cruel world.
"I'm coming in." I stated simply, clicking the door closed behind me. I studied her for a moment, no doubt hoarse from ceaseless crying, her eyes sightless through the tears. Where was her mind, I wondered. Standing in the house I felt the exhausted, almost apathetic thought I was intruding in a sacred place. Oh well.
It was a short walk to the couch and as I settled myself a few inches from her, I could feel her crumbling against herself and the knowledge of it.
"You want to talk about it?" What else could I ask? She obviously wasn't okay. Doubtless she had done anything interesting in this state to ask about.
No, she indicated with a jerky shake of her head before it all spilled out. Sobs gagged her, amazingly she still had tears flowing, her knuckles white with fingers locked like claws into the pillow. She broke, doubling over, the flat pillow doing nothing to support her. So I gathered her up in my arms against my chest and let her cry. Whatever she tried to garble out between sobs, gasps and hiccups was lost to me in the thickness of her grief.
Suddenly she was pushing herself up and away from me, almost falling back in the process.
"Don't look at me" she cried. "Don't look at me" she repeated as she turned towards the hallway leading to her room. I caught her hand mid-turn and pulled her back to me. She was left no grace in her state, her knees hitting the front of the couch, my knees reflexively springing inward out of self preservation as her face smacked into my chest.
Instead of pushing me back away, though,she fell once again into pieces on me, her hands locking into my shirt in leu of the pillow, and she cried. I wrapped my arms around her and just when I thought surely she could cry no more her arms desperately wrapped around me--one around my chest, the other about my neck and the crying began all over.
When she was spent and her turmoil slowed, I gently disentangled myself from her death grip, pushing her back far enough I could cup her face in my hands and wipe her tears. She stared back at me unseeing, blinded by loss. Out of some insane, compassionate impulse to stop the pain, I leaned down and kissed her, slow and as deep as I dared.
There was no response when I pulled away, no recognition of the kiss. Her hands still lied limp in my lap, her eyes blind to all but the demons inside herself. I closed my eyes, sighing, then fire raked itself across the left side of my face and blows started pounding against my chest as her hoarse rage rose, frantic.
"Why?" She beseeched, "Why would you do that? Why the fuck would you do that?"
She was broken. I pinned her arms to my chest and she weakly struggled against me, all the while begging why. Eventually she collapsed back against me, exhausted and fatigued. I kept thinking, I don't know, I just didn't know what else to do.
"He's gone." She whimpered finally. I released her arms and they weakly slinked around my waist. "He's gone. Now I can't even taste him anymore."
And with that last statement in sanity, my world turned grey and her crying began anew as I realized I had just stolen the dying kiss of my best friend's husband from her.