prose sketch: the quiet living room

Sun 9 Dec 2012 1:05 p.m. my living room

The place is quiet and empty: Kimmie and Robin are out shopping. Quiet but not silent, for there is the ever-present wash of traffic in front of the house, the soft ticking of the battery-powered clock over the entertainment unit, and the sporadic, grating caws of crows outside.

And not quite empty, for I am here. No lights are on: just the dull gray light falling through the venetian blinds, gleaming on the smooth hulks of our leather furniture. The little cone of Kimmie’s Christmas tree stands on the table by my chair, festooned with iridescent charms and garlands of pearls. A long flaccid bough of artificial fir lies along the mantelpiece, with green candles standing at intervals in it. All the lights are switched off. The decorations wait in suspended daytime animation to radiate their electric cheer when their mistress returns. The black grotto of the fireplace is loaded pregnantly with dry wood. The wide coffee table is scattered with DVD boxes, woven coasters, remotes, and my old hardback Webster’s, red and worn.

It’s like a store or a business on Sunday: abandoned. The action has moved elsewhere, it swirls around outside, involved with other things. To be the only consciousness in a place, the last to leave, brings a unique feeling of solitude, a yearning, a loneliness in the floor of the pelvis. They’ve moved on, and now there is only me to bear witness.

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