an empty wind, devoid of whistles or howls, sneaks in through the cracked-open window of Room 20B in Apartment Complex Thirteen.
dust has draped itself across tables bare. so heavy is the layer that the empty wind fails to rouse even the slightest of excitement from the drab layer.
there is an imprint of a person laying on a garish flowered couch. laughter floats through the air, as the empty wind smooths its hand over where the physical shoulders of the person would have been. the dust fails to settle over the area. the laughter fades out.
the empty wind whirls through the kitchen, disturbing nothing in its way. paintings of landscapes almost as real as a photograph adorn several walls – walls that turn yellow, mellowed by age, but paintings that remain vibrant as the day they were made.
the kitchen is bare, save for a stack of empty dishes in the sink. shards of a broken dish adorn the dusty floor. here, the dust rises up before settling back down. the dishes remain sparkling white. soap suds swirl around inside the metal sink. the water drips. yellow gloves hang in mid-air, as if the person who had been wearing them simply faded away, leaving the slightest physical imprint of a person holding the gloves.
the empty wind dances with the dust for a while. the dust simply rouses itself from its sleep for a minute and then falls back down. there is no excitement in this desert.
the bedroom has one bed. its covers are folded over two people – the imprint of one person, the physical form of another. the empty wind can see the hands clasping each other. the physical hand is grasping nothing. the person’s eyes are closed. the person does not breathe, not even when the empty wind presses a gentle kiss onto their cheek. a pillow lies on the ground. like the dishes, there is no dust on it.
echoes of happiness and sadness and anger and beauty and everything right with life float with the empty wind. the empty wind carries nothing with it, as it exits out the backdoor except the memories of a ghost town and a profound sadness for what could have been.
stuck in time, Room 20B of Apartment Complex 13 remains the way it was five years ago, where the empty wind’s lover walked out, leaving the empty wind behind. it had taken a year to move one from broken dishes, dropped pillows, stolen kisses, warm hands, and happiness. it had taken another three years to find someone even more wonderful than their previous lover. someone who didn’t leave.
but Room 20B of Apartment Complex 13 remained empty.
nothing can fill the space left behind.
so the door gently shuts on painful and beautiful memories.