“What do you want?” she asked, and though he couldn’t see her face, he knew her well enough to tell an expression from a tone of voice; that fed-up, do I really have to be here look, a combination of boredom and can’t-be-botheredness, would have pulled her normally pretty features into a mask of melancholy.
Just to hear her voice, that was all he wanted. Just to know she was alive, that she hadn’t fallen off the planet, or the ground hadn’t rose up and swallowed her. It was driving him nuts already; they hadn’t spoken in three days.
“Just, you know, wanted to talk.”
He heard her sigh, and thought she might hang up on him. He tensed, breath held, waiting. He breathed out as she spoke.
“Grant, why are you doing this to yourself?”
“Why’re you doing it to me?” he asked, without pausing to think his words through. As soon as they were out, he regretted them. Too often that had been one of her complaints, that he always used to blame her, that he wasn’t responsible enough.
“I’m not doing anything to you.”
“I…” he trailed away, not knowing what to say, how to salvage this conversation. He just wanted her to come home, just wanted her to hold him.
“I need to go,” she said.
“What? Why? Go where?”
“None of your business.” Her voice was flat, cold. The warmth was what he thought of when he thought of her, which was all the time. She had a fire inside, sometimes a raging enemy, sometimes a warm friend, but she had never been cold. Was it his fault? Not the break-up, obviously, he would take responsibility to a point, but surely some of that was her fault. Well, most of it, really… but had the break-up caused her to grow cold? He thought perhaps it had.
“I… tell me where you’re going,” he said, not caring that he was whining. The line went dead. Damn it. Damndamndamn. He went into the kitchen, opening cupboards, closing them, his eyes scanning shelves without seeing the contents. He opened the cutlery drawer, took out a sharp knife and held it up.
The blade caught the light from above and dazzled his eyes. It shone like moonlight. He thought of Courtney as he stared at the blade, so white and cold and beautiful. They were alike, Courtney and the knife, for both could hurt him.
“Why?” he asked the knife, but it told him no more than Courtney already had, and what she’d said he didn’t want to think about. Courtney’s coldness was in the whole room now and he was suffocating in it. He hated it, wanted out of it, would stay in there forever if he was with Courtney, if he even felt like he was with Courtney.
No, he was too cold. He wanted warmth, he wanted fire. He wanted anger, for anger was heat. He put the knife away, shut the drawer, and willed himself to get angry. It wasn’t hard. He just had to think about… about the things she’d said… did… little cow…
“How could she?” he grabbed open the cupboard, pulled out glasses and started throwing them at walls, at the floor. He threw one at the ceiling. It didn’t reach, just came down and smashed on the table. There was blood on both his arms. Some of the glass was bloody, too.
Damndamndamn. He looked around for the tea towel, but couldn’t see it. As he searched for one, the phone began to ring. He went into the living room dripping blood.
“Yeah?” he asked as he answered the phone. Where the Hell was the bloody tea-towel?
“Hi, it’s me,” she said.
“Hmm? Oh, hi.” He moved cushions off the couch, though why a tea towel would be under there he couldn’t imagine. It wasn’t, which made sense. Blood got on the cream leather, but he paid it little attention. He needed to wipe this off his arms or something.
“Are you okay? You seem a little distracted.”
“Uhh, yeah, I, eh, I got cut. I’m fine, though. What’s wrong?” He went over to the window, glad this was a wireless phone. He wiped his arm on the curtains.
“We need to talk,” Courtney said. “Will you meet me? In the park where we used to take Lily?”
Lily. He’d forgotten about Lily. Lily was when everything started to go wrong.
“Uh, yeah?” he tried to focus his mind on something other than Lily. Courtney wanted to meet, to talk. Maybe she was ready to come home.
“You’ll meet me then?” she asked.