Jason dreamed. He was shaking with rage and leaning out the window, watching Maria's back recede down the street. They had argued, or so he thought. He could not recall ever having fought with her like that, at least not to where she walked out with him watching from the window. Still, it was so real, so sharp and clear that he thought maybe it had happened truly and he was just now remembering it. He shouted after her; her back did not turn nor did her pace slow. Jason swore hotly, drew himself back inside and slammed the old wood sash down hard into the sill. The impact conspired with age and cold to shatter the top panes of glass. it was the old style glass, the kind that broke into nasty shards. Talons of glass popped out of the sash. Jason instinctively flung his hands up, catching a long shard in his left hand. He tried to drop it. The razor sharp edges slashed his palm all the way across. Blood gouted out to run onto the floor, and Jason shouted, stumbling to trip on the edge of the carpet. A second shard of glass dropped from the frame and slashed his right wrist. A crimson arc scattered in the air, spattered the wall and Jason thought he was going to die. Bled to death by his own bad luck. He watched the walls go black...
I clench my fist but feel no sensation
The walls around me spin and sway
A flash back image in my vision
Maria pulled her car over to the curb, a sad weight in her diaphragm as she glanced up the block towards the brownstone in which she used to live. It wasn't her intention to have come here this afternoon, but it had been weeks since she had heard anything from Jason, which wasn't like him at all.
She pulled off behind two cars ahead, blocking the street, crunched together, victims of inattention and slushy pavement. Two men stood by the cars. One had his back to her, and stood behind the open door of his vehicle. He was waving angrily at the other man, who stood beside his car, door open, with a hand on his hip. He was shrugging. Maria wasted little time on the accident, quickly out the door to stride up the street.
Her boots crunched and squeaked, feet slipping over the winter residue on the sidewalk. She flapped her arms for balance, trying to watch where she was going and simultaneously look up at the house. She saw a small black rectangle laying on the snow near the curb, but it was the gaping hole in the window that really got her attention. Her breath rushed sharply over her teeth, making her wince.
Broken? Why is the glass broken? Maria wondered. Jason had never been the type to let things like that go, she remembered. Attention to detail or perhaps over-attention to detail was a trait that was endearing at first, then turn to gall. Her stomach knotted up.
There was a sudden silence behind her. Maria turned her head to see the two men exchanging slips of paper. Their voices had dropped, and in the lull, she heard the faint strains of music drifting down from the window above. Slow, sad piano curled around her heart and squeezed. She bit her lip, trying to decide whether to just go up and see him, or call first. The piano tinkled like ice slowly breaking, as her hand reached for the cell phone in her coat pocket. Speed dialing the number, and the shrill tone of a phone joined the music in a discordant symphony. It rang once, twice, three times...
...and Maria lowered her head, for the first time seeing clearly the black rectangle lying almost at her booted feet. It was a picture frame, bent and cracked. The glass that had been in it was shattered, little fangs of it still clinging to the black metal of the frame. The photograph inside was stained with melting snow, nearly obscuring the faces of the couple in the picture. Maria's heart thudded over sluggishly in her chest. Bending down to brush away the slush, she gasped. She knew the picture. Jason and herself, together and smiling, taken at a friend's wedding three years ago. They had been happy once, long ago and far away; the picture was proof. The sad knowledge stung her eyes with tears. Picking up the picture, she looked up to the window. The phone was still ringing.
Maria's heart accelerated as it hit her again: the phone was still ringing. Jason hadn't answered, nor had the machine picked up. Her stomach knotted up as she bit back on a wave of nausea. Leaping to her feet, she scrambled up the steps and tried to open the door. It was locked. She began pounding on it, shouting for Jason. The two men in the street looked up, startled, as Maria slumped to her knees. The phone fell from her hand, and in the brief silence she could hear the ringing from above and the music. It sounded to her like a dirge.
Your name has slipped my mind again
Your name has slipped my mind again