Empty Home

I stood there at the window pausing before turning the key. Through the glass I could see her, sat in the same chair she was always in, eyes glazed over staring dead-eyed at the flashing screen. What had gone so wrong that it had all come to this? How could a place so filled with laughter and happiness, that welcomed me into its warm embrace, now be a cold soulless shell? I do not know how long I stood there, but her eyes never moved, never noticing me staring with a similar dead-eyed look to her, but for a very different reason. I turned the key.
“I’m back” I called out, more of habit than anything else, not expecting any kind of meaningful response. A grunt of acknowledgement was sent my way, without so much as a look to confirm my statement. The scent of cigarette smoke filled my lungs, leading my gaze to the incriminating object hanging loosely in her grip, ash pilled on the floor directly below. A glass of stale, lifeless beer perched next to her surrounded by six empty cans in various states of deconstruction.
“How many times have I told you ma, to use an ash-”
“I erd yur whinin’ girl, now leave me be to my piktures”, her eyes never moved from the screen. I sighed and stumbled tired and lifeless into the kitchen. Flicking the switch the cold strip lights blinked on illuminating the grimy glorified cupboard we had for a kitchen. More cans littered the sides, plates stacked like a half-finished game of Jenga dripping with grease. I let out another long sigh, realizing I was too tired to clean, and it would only be replaced the next day. I swept the cans into the bin, smashing them down to make room and then swung open the fridge door. Beer, bacon, butter and thick pools of some unidentifiable yellow gunge. It was better I didn’t know what that was, I thought. For a moment my mind summoned images of this place when father was still around. Shelves stocked with fresh meats and cheeses he brought back from the markets in town, the smells of fresh, baked bread lingering in the air. Fire crackling away in the corner of the sitting room, and us, gathering around it to talk about our days. No damnable television then to devour our souls; Just the exotic dance of the flickering flames, and fathers comforting, homely voice inter-spaced with mothers shrill laugh as he joked of the customers he had served that day at the market. The memory faded as soon as it came. Fuck it, I thought, and grabbed a beer slumping down on a chair next to her…

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