For me, endings always come in two forms. There are endings which form an armoured sense of closure; a neat, happy sigh in which you can leave behind a project or a part of your life. Gladly turning away to let it rest.
Then there are endings which hang in the air like static, unclosed and obstructive. The ones which seep and permeate into every inch of your being when they should be left shut. The anti-endings which do not form a finish, but it is all you will get. This was one of those.
Sweep empty tin cans off the table and pour wine down the sink. Drop tickets in the bin, leave black bags spilling onto the curb-side, rule out dates on your diary, and sign off, ‘must reschedule xo’. Gurgle, I’ll see you soon, I’ll see you soon, I’ll see you soon.
After bundling your sordid life into compact boxes, bleaching the personality from the walls, and cramming every greying t-shirt and blackened trainer into bags, you set off carrying a fraction of yourself: it is heavy and awkward. Three bags and a suitcase. A cheese sandwich and one hour of sleep.
The night is damp and warm, fizzing with the temptation of summer, not quite bloomed yet. The fog of the air echoes the fog in your head. Part of you suspects the night nothing more than a fever dream. The streets are lifeless.
Satellite dishes quiver as you pass. Opening magnolia flowers adorn every tree on every corner, stretching their petals like limbs in the morning. Under the darkness they are grey and purple. Suburban houses are lined with fringes of green lawns. Terraces stand to attention in condensed queues. The roads are metallic, like rivers; pavements rough like earth banks.
Lost amongst the parallel streets is your square of a bedroom. You could wrap yourself up between the sheets, like those fragile plates in the kitchen, swaddled in bubble wrap. It would be euphoric to nestle into the box, the safety of four walls. Pull tight the flaps of card at the top, trap your fingers. Notice the sliver of sky, but absolve yourself of involvement. ‘Fragile, do not open’. Please cut through the tape once this is all over —you would write in black marker.
So far, life had been forged from tradition and pattern. This is being broken tonight. Across the country, teary faces run home to their mothers. These swollen, pink blushes: the retreat of adulthood. No bedsheets, only boxes.
You are sat on the platform, eating the gum you bought. The pack is unfinished, spilling from both ends. It reads ‘50p. Choking Hazard’.
Cloaked in lethargy, you step onto the train. Your body shudders under the weight of the luggage. Endings are not dead ends. The city draws a breath.
– Emily Black