• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 12
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Halfway down the bottle on a Friday night, I stand in front of the tall bookcases and know already that I’m bored. You’ve called to tell me you won’t be home for hours and I’ve re-read everything here twice. What I’m looking for is something new. Tell me something I don't know. That sentence has made me smile since I was a schoolgirl.

I decide to pick something from your study shelves but turn too quickly and spill cold wine from my glass. I feel it trickling through my toes onto the wooden floor. Damn. I walk back to the kitchen and pick up a tea towel and the bottle that’s even emptier than I thought.

Photographs on the wall smile out at me and I nod to them, running through the details of who and when and where in the junctions of our lives. Tonight my recall rate is high. Tick-tock to the old grey cells. It might be my reflection but I think I see disapproval in your eyes in our wedding portrait. Tell me something that I don’t know, I think before bumping my elbow painfully on the door to your study.

I don’t switch on the light. The book I want shines down – a white spine with thick black letters holding page after glossy page of the extravagant palaces we visited on our honeymoon. The book almost falls from my grasp as I pull it down, it’s heavier than I remember. A scrap of paper, a photo falls to the floor and I wonder when I put it there but of course, I didn’t. The picture shows the burned out interior of a huge, ornate building similar to the ones we saw. Hollow window frames look out onto treetops. The rafters make an almost pattern against the sky. Ruined tiles sit neatly stacked to one side, already coated deeply in dust. Broken glass and falling beams criss-cross the site. The rich fabrics are shredded by flame or perhaps by the effort to put out the fire. The devastation is complete.