"God this is agony", she whispered as she twisted yarns of wool around each ring adorned finger. The other hand was scratching absentmindedly at her knee, slowly but surely creating, as she was very aware, a red mark that was starting to become irritated. She hated it when he left for the shops down the road never mind a holiday for two weeks.
That year had been strained. When he'd bought her, her Christmas gift, (an Antlers album), she'd waited until he left to listen to it. This is because she knew that at least it would be something to remind her of him.
"You're seriously losing it. If you can't stand to be away from him for 2 weeks when you've been together for this long I'm losing my touch as your, well I like to think of myself as your carer. Sort of guardian angel-" said Lucy will a small pull at the corners of her mouth as she realised how much she liked this idea, "-I like to think part of my duty is to keep you sane and okay when people who's normal job it is, i.e the boyfriend, go away for a bit. He's not died you do realise?" She asked as a look of worry and torment flashed across the irises of her eyes. It was fast but visible enough to Gillian.
"Yes. I am aware that my boyfriend hasn't died. I just feel very alone when I don't have someone around all of the time. He lives here so when there's not someone around I miss the background noise."
This was an understatement. Gillian's heart ached for the moments at three in the morning when she would be awoken by the tap being turned on. Lifting her heavy head of golden hair from the pillow she would hear a muffled grunt and realise that he'd gotten up for a drink. No it wasn't a burglar.
She used to pray in the middle of the night, if she was awake and he wasn't, that the floor would swallow her, only on her side of the bed. Just so she knew what it was like for her to leave him for a while. She used to revel in the sickly feeling she got when imagining this thought. She wondered if she'd feel empowered by her willingness for this to happen. However on contemplation she realised this was unrealistic. She would never let the ground swallow her. She'd refuse to leave.
"What on earth is that tacky ornament?" Asked Lucy breaking her train of thought. Her left hand was poised in a pointing position and a grimace, a look of somebody who'd shockingly been slapped, was draped over her features.
"Oh that. Hamish bought it for me. We both hated it equally," she paused to giggle, covering her grin with her hand, a habit she'd had since childhood, with an unfounded sense of shame about the size of her teeth.
"We both thought though that it was so ugly it was kind of attractive. I mean come on! Look at it, an owl has never looked less wise and at peace. I'm pretty sure-yeah-it's got a wonky set of eyes hasn't it? I guess we felt sorry for it. Like it might have been the bullied owl at school or something".
After Lucy had left she crawled up on the couch and started counting the petals on the flower of the wallpaper. This was also a habit she'd never let go of since the age of around four when she used to do it in bed at her grandparent's house. If she was feeling lonely or isolated she would count petals. Somehow she felt she might catch out the designer. She knew there was little in her life that gave her that specific kind of pleasure, the secret introspective kind, of catching someone out and realising, only very rarely this happened of course, that there was an odd flower with more or less petals than the others. Somehow it made her feel more human. As though everybody makes mistakes. Somebody might decide that, that flower was painted wrong somehow and needed an extra, or one less, petal than the rest. But it wasn't fixed or recognised. It blended in well enough. And it was still allowed to be part of the whole design. When Hamish was away she felt like the odd flower. And sometimes it took her hours to find it but until she did it was a waste going to bed or attempting sleep. Otherwise she didn't feel she was allowed to be on the wallpaper. That the paper was peeling from water damage and slipping away to reveal the cracks in the plaster and ruining the carpet that cost oh so much money. She felt worn.