They’d missed each other, had passed each other by with precision. Minutes were windows to escape through and nothing was wrong until verbalized.
They communicated via Post-its, stuck them on the mirror in the hallway. Cancellations mostly, but reminders, too — the tax return, a signature. The notes grew shorter, elliptical; the handwriting poor. His resembled Morse; hers, Miro. Her final note is blank; and he knows that she is gone.
Her note on the mirror. Its blankness reminds him of her absence. It falls to the floor six, maybe seven weeks later and he knows she isn’t coming back. Her letter falls through the door the next day.
He’d assumed she was with friends. Or her mother. The stamp suggests not.
He rereads the letter—trawls through it in a different light, a different room. Slants, loops, dots; he searches, feels the indentations through the page. He thinks about her choice of words. He empties the glass and goes out for air. Back home, he retrieves the letter from the bin. He rereads, trawls through it in a different room, a different light.
He drafts a reply in his head. He drafts at dinner, and later in the bath. The drafts grow shorter. A page, then less. He drafts as he lies in bed. Shorter each time. He sets the clock for seven, drafts. It’s clear now, everything he has ever wanted to tell her; one sublime sentence, scratched across his mind.
He sleeps, parts of him sleep. His mind works on the draft. By two a.m., all that remains is four words. By five