I didn't know what to expect while I dragged my feet grudgingly up the steps. A sigh and a fumble later, and the key was in the door. I still didn't know how I would react, as I turned the little golden key in. With a shiver.
Utter and complete devastation. That's how it feels. The first thing I notice is the stack of empty pizza boxes - that we'd had every single day for the past week; all stacked rather unkemptly one above the other. Then there's the sand all over the floor. Her pleas to apologize to my roommate for turning this place into a hurricane shelter. The sand is still fresh. The sand still itches - since the day we went to the beach. When I meekishly prodded towards the ice-cold water, away from the 40-degree sun. She crept up behind me and dunked me face first into the water. And sand.
My clothes are in a neat pile by the corner. I'm not used to this. The bed's been made and my clothes are neat. My room is always a mess. Seems like she took the time to clean up a bit; as if that would make it okay for her to have left so suddenly.
I can't handle this.
I look to the bathroom for comfort. A release; an escape. Mercy. But no. The tap is still running from our hurried showering this morning. "We have to go, Aanks." The shower smells distinctly Scandinavian. Peach-lavender breeze. I think I'm going to get sick. There's a really ugly lump in my throat that's been nagging away all day at me.
The converter is still in the power socket, from when she wanted to charge her laptop. "I'll get my own charger just in case, YOU KNOW ITS DIFFERENT IN AMERICA FROM SWEDEN!" I know.
There's empty Mountain Dew cans all over the place. She'd have it with her pills, she'd have it with our daily Pizza dinner, she'd have it when we snuggled up to watch a horror movie, she'd have it when we put the TV on to make fun of that stupid Chelsea Lately show. One of the cans I see is only half empty. The lump in my throat gets bigger.
Near the microwave, I see an empty packet of Indian Mithai. My mom sent those to me, a bunch of them. I only got to eat two or three. You can only guess where all the others went. Swedes love their Indian food. There's also the empty packet of Dal Makhni from when she made it for me. Please come back?
Bang in the middle of the room is something I just noticed. Empty shoe boxes and shopping bags. Aeropostale, Hollister, American Eagle - they're all there. I remember the time we went to Victoria's Secret and I just sat awkwardly outside the store, repulsed at all the pink and barbie in there. I would pretend to hate shopping so we could go home and snuggle up, but I never really told her how much I loved seeing the glint in her eye when she saw a hot handbag or a nice pair of heels. The lump is now rising.
It's been a rough day. I'm holding in my hand her half-finished bottle of diet coke, the only real thing I have to hold on to from earlier today. It was rough. Heartwrenching. Mindnumbing. I held her for hours. And hours. And we checked her in and held on and on. It was 20 minutes before her flight, and I still wouldn't let her go. Her eyes were bloodshot red. She'd been crying constantly the last 18 hours. My throat hurt. My voice was hoarse from singing all those songs of her leaving me, trying to lighten her spirits. I didn't shed a single tear, until it was time to let go of her hand as she walked toward the plane. Not a single one.
And then I broke down. Harder and worse than I'd ever expected or imagined. I haven't cried in years. I don't cry. But I did. I wept like a little baby. And I'm not even ashamed of it. Summer can't come soon enough. She showed me probably the best week of my life; I'm going to return the favor when I get to Stockholm. I promise.
But for now, I'm in this room that's stuck in time, stuck at the morning of today, stuck at cries of happiness and laughter. And I'm stuck with nothing but an ever increasing workload, a paper and a pen, and a lot of acid humor.