She was with him, and when I thought of her, I thought of him. This tick, which used her mourning as a weak point in her flesh to find hold with his small biting tools. He sucked her out. I saw it, she’d see it soon enough. She’ll wake up, stand outside my door and scratch at it like a cat. That’s how I Imagined it. That’s how it would be if she realized what I already knew: we were made for each other and without me something would be missing for her. I thought about her all the time. If not, I distracted myself. It was ridiculous to deny that but telling her that would have been even more ridiculous. How could she believe me that even when I sprinkled salt, I thought of how she had added spice to my life? It couldn’t have been cheesier. All that was left to do, was to write her name on paper and decorate it at the end with my heart. What a disgusting feeling. I wouldn’t let him shine through. The consequences I was not allowed to leave unchecked. I had learned to control myself. Jealousy was ugly, but only if you showed it. So many times, she whispered in my ear. Change something. What, jealousy didn’t really matter. No, I didn’t have to listen to the jealousy. Whether I was writing a long letter, filling her voice mail with whiny jargon, sending her thousands of messages, or telling her in her face how much I needed her. It didn’t make any difference. Because, and I didn’t like to admit it, she certainly had reasons to be with him. The guy could have been a better lover, he must have been prettier all the time. He could have been a deep well under the façade of the sluggishness I wrote him off as. Was he listening to her in a way I didn’t understand and hadn’t learned about in the isolation of my youth? One thing I couldn’t imagine: That she could have had more fun with him. I opened a window, knocked a finger on the bottom of the pack. A cigarette flicked out. I lit it and blew the smoke out into the cold night. I looked out the window into the street. It was as quiet as ever. The time made no difference in a village. It’s just always been way too quiet. These guys had no reason to do anything else at night but sleep till tomorrow. I wouldn’t do anything else either. I wonder if she thought of me when she was pouring whiskey to strangers. I blew the blue haze out through my nose. My heart that was pressing, how would the boy have laughed, who did not think that one could feel emotions take a toll on the body. It wasn’t painful, but it wasn’t bearable either. I steamed the cigarette out in my glass of water. I saw something else on the street. A car drove along. I briefly hoped, but when I saw more than the brightness of the headlights, I realized how ridiculous that was. She in a car, in a town she doesn’t know, for a guy she didn’t care about and didn’t talk to for months either. What was I looking for? Was I just here to reminisce? How did they do it when they got older? How do they manage to look back on 40 years and not feel like it’s all wasted time? Ambitions alone can’t keep anyone going. Back then I didn’t know about this. I may have caught ambitions as a child…but I also had caught a cold as a child. Something like that goes by. I closed the window and dumped the water-ash-mixture into the toilet. I flushed it twice. The filter held its ground persistently over water. But when I then tore off strips of toilet paper and threw them in, the suction also caught the stump. Thinking about her wasn’t healthy.
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