Windows of the Soul or Whatever

By Natalia Theodoridou

I come back to our house our home our love nest – remember how we called it, love nest, because people called us chicks and you hated it, but then I said, 'well, chicks are birds and birds need a nest,' 'a love nest,' you said, and we laughed. I come back, I enter the house but don't take off my shoes by the front door and I wait for you to yell at me, but you're not there to yell, you'll never yell again,

(can you yell now, please? Please?)

you'll never yell again, no air will pass your lungs again–

(a sign, please, a sign that you're here, still here, still)

I enter the house and it's stuffy and warm because all the windows are closed; you used to open the windows, always opened them, you were the one who always opened the windows and I the one who always closed them, always so cold, so much colder than you – until now.  

I can't be in here. 

(Are you here?)

I leave, my shoes still on. I leave the closed windows behind and I open the door and close it again behind me and I leave, leaving right now, I'm leaving your absence in the house, alone.

I come back again half-drunk – no, not half-drunk, fully-drunk, just half from the gin and half from the post-mortem blues, the ones you get when your girlfriend is dead dead dead – and your absence is still here in the chickless loveless lovenest (see how fast I can twist my tongue around the tongue twisters of grief?). I keep my shoes on and walk all over the carpet the kitchen the bed, I get mud on the sheets on the blanket on your clothes that you will never wear again and then try to kiss it all away and I get mud on my twisted tongue, on my cheeks, on my heart and look, no matter what I think or what it feels like, I have not disappeared; I can see myself in the mirror. See? Fully bodied, here. 

I breathe on the mirror, make a small cloud for you to write on with your absent finger or a lipstick or something. I wait, but you do nothing, the cloud fades away. You're not much of a ghost, are you?

I turn off the lights, listen for your footsteps in the hallway (can you drag your feet, ghost lover, can you step a little louder? I know it's hard with all these carpets and your absent feet and whatnot, but will you try try try), yet there's nothing and so I sob myself to sleep, thinking my stupid heart got mud on your pillow, darling. Thinking please, darling, don't be mad.

I wake up in early morning, frozen to the bone. 

All the windows in the house are open.

Natalia Theodoridou is a media & cultural studies scholar, a dramaturge, and a writer of strange stories. Her fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, KROnline, Shimmer, Neon, and elsewhere. Find out more at her website,, or follow @natalia_theodor on Twitter. 

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