He starts to spiral out of control. Small things first, like wearing a mismatched tie, or forgetting to shave off the stubble on his chin. Things that most people wouldn’t notice, or notice, but choose to write off as a temporary thing.
He drinks, but not enough to forget, never enough, and always on his own. He visits a different bar every night, sitting on the stool until his body feels numb and his fingers flex against the cool but sticky glass. The bourbon he’s been main-lining has lost some of it’s lustre, the burn not travelling as quickly or painfully through his chest out to his limbs. He swallows against the bitter knot in his throat until the bartender fills up his glass again and again.
He sees flashes of red everywhere he goes, mainly in his periphery. Each glimpse catches him, stops everything until he sees.
It’s never her.
She breaks down as the elevator doors close behind her. She holds the cardboard box containing all of the important pieces of her life over the last seven years like it’s the heaviest burden and the most precious thing she will ever have.
It hot inside, and she’s finding it harder to breathe with every second that passes. She pushes the button for the lobby, finding it from memory, because she can’t see anything past the look on Harvey’s face as he stood waiting for her.
She takes a cab back to her apartment. Her shoes are the first thing to go as soon as she steps in. She lays the banker’s box by the front door and moves straight to the fridge. She pulls out the bottle of chardonnay, dumping half of it into a glass, taking a long drink from it before putting the bottle back where she got it.
She moves from the kitchen into her living room, stopping only briefly to unplug her phone before curling in on herself.
Her face feels so warm, warmer than it normally does. She takes another sip from her drink. But aside from that she doesn’t really feel anything at all. Not happy or sad or angry. It’s all blank, a vast emptiness inside of her.
Her cellphone vibrates in the box by the door. She listens to the low pitched buzz four times before closing her eyes.