Empty

by Dominic Bond

The house felt empty with everyone gone. It was silent, and did not make good company. Rain drops sat on the windows, hardly moving, whilst the sky outside brimmed with menace, unwilling to welcome a new day in. I wondered why I had opened the curtains. I sat drinking bitter coffee waiting for something. Then the fridge started to rumble.

What had happened the night before? There was evidence around me, toys on the floor, washing up drying in the kitchen, a shopping list on a table, detailed but hardly inspiring. It was a domestic list, of liquids and stable foods for a family home. It had no colour, no zest, but it did what it was meant to do.

I checked my phone. No messages. E-mails promising larger organs and new paths to a fortune filled my inbox. It was good to know I could be both rich and well-endowed but would take a bit more persuasion to commit. Then Facebook. It was still early, but some people just seemed to have something to say at any time of day. A few pictures of people I didn’t know, stories about adventures from people I have no interest in, interesting pictures from people whom I had forgotten existed.

I sat in the dining room and looked out at the garden. A bird patrolled the lawn, pecking at various parts. Unperturbed by the weather, it covered as much ground as possible in pursuit of sustenance. It didn’t seem to mind the nagging rain, which wasn’t fierce, or drizzle, but somewhere in between, hanging in the air persistently. I had tried pleading with it but it didn’t listen.

I wondered how many minutes had passed, looking at my phone again. That had consumed three minutes of my life. Is that all? I had hours yet. I checked my hair, then put my hand in my pants and smelt my fingers. Definitely need to shower. What’s that, another 15 minutes? I paid a visit to the lounge and put the TV on. One channel after another, but I wasn’t taking it in. So I did it again, one channel after another.

I settled on the news. This was boring, too many minor domestic stories and not enough wars. Wars made everything more interesting. Wasn’t it time China invaded somewhere? I checked my phone again. Still nothing. Facebook again. Someone’s daughter had met the required reading age. Things were looking up.

I needed a cigarette, and went out in to the garden. I was raining but I didn’t seem to get wet. Everything seemed okay out here. The bird still pecked at the lawn. The bushes stood in unison, the trees waved a little in the wind. Nothing was really said. A lone leaf blew one way, then another, then back, then forward again. It was like it was drunk, swaying heavily as it made its way up the garden. But it wouldn’t give in. Finally it did a somersault in the air, before falling gently to earth. Maybe now it could sleep it off.

Back inside, it felt no better. Checked phone again, watch news again, wash up cup from coffee, look out of window, look upstairs, what’s on the ceiling. What’s in my pants? Still the same, limp, unused. Then it came to me. What could I add to the shopping list?

Dominic Bond writes poetry and tries and do other things; hopefully other people will like them.

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