• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 12
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Tell me a story

He tells me the story of how he found her. He wants to tell me his story so I’ll tell him mine. Because that’s what we do, tell each other stories. He’s eager to tell his story. I get the impression that people don’t listen to him all that often, if at all. When I came around asking about her I could see it meant a lot to him. Not about her. He says himself he barely knew her. He’d seen her around, with the others, but he always stayed out of their way. He isn’t into that. He stresses that. He isn’t into that, that’s how he says it, nothing more, no detail, just that he isn’t into that. I’m meant to know, we’re all meant to know what he means. It matters deeply to him that I know, that anyone listening to him knows, that he isn’t into that.

He shows me around. He tells me that he doesn’t spend a lot of time up here; he prefers an abandoned shed nearby behind the old factory that no one else seems to know about. He only came up here occasionally to take some firewood. Yet he shows me around like an old curator, pointing out objects of interest. I want to ask him if there is anything of here still here. I want to ask him if he knows of anything she might have left behind. I don’t tell him about the plastic bag full of rubbish they gave me in the mortuary, all that the emergency crews had left of her when they’d finished trying.

He tries to tell me another story, a story he knows better. He tries to tell me a story about a fight, years ago, between two men over a woman, right over there, he says, but I’m not looking. I only care about her story. I want to find something of her. I tell myself that somewhere, somewhere here amidst the ash and the dirt and the old tiles I’ll find something of the her that I knew. I kid myself thinking that somewhere she hid an old photograph or a piece of jewellery, something from her old life, from the life I knew.


Tell me a story

I try shifting some of the tiles, thinking that their weight and layers of dirt would make them the perfect hiding places, the kind of places she would have thought of to hide something. I don’t find anything. He looks at me, waiting, waiting. Isn’t it my turn to tell my story now? I tell him nothing.

He tells me again how he found her, there, in the chair. I can see by the look on his face he wants to tell me more. He wants to tell me things I don’t want to hear.

So he tells me again how he found her.

But I don’t tell him how I lost her.