The hallway was quiet.
The dog barking in the bathroom, the muffled sounds of the police officer’s radio and even the sudden kick of the air conditioner couldn’t break the silence I felt in that hallway.
Standing there at the door, looking at the knob, daring me to reach out and turn it.
I could feel my heartbeat in my gums,
in the temples of my head
and through my fingertips as I held my hand out.
For a moment I was still.
I was imagining a neatly made bed, the lingering smell of perfume and the television playing softly in the background.
I took a step forward and opened the door.
With just a glance I immediately turned away.
It was real.
I slowly turned around and stared in disbelief.
The bed was a mess, the wheelchair was empty and awkwardly sat in front of the doorway.
The television screen was black and lifeless,
but the perfume invaded my nostrils as I looked down at her lying face first on the bedroom floor.
Her hair untamed, her face hidden and her leg extended under the dresser.
I wanted to believe that she fell out of her bed and without me there to help her up that she had decided to drift off back to sleep.
Seeing the purple blotches of her fingers and behind her ears made my heart sink because it was true.
She died there like this.
My thoughts raced through my head.
I thought of what we last said to one another.
How much anger we felt.
The way we glared at each other.
Then I remembered how I last said your name before I left.
The way I accentuated it.
Like a knife, it pierced through you.
Now you’re gone and nothing can be taken back.
My anger and hatred die with you on that floor.