The silence on early Saturday mornings. You sleeping in and breathing steadily as I tried to swing out of bed without rustling the sheets. The sound of me beating up eggs and frying up bacon. The timer on the oven going off warning me to let the homemade biscuits cool and butter them just how you liked. The pop from the champagne cork, the bubbles in the flute before I silenced them with orange juice. Your coffee brewing. The way I learned how to make it just because you drank it. Me always stirring the honey in my tea.
The way I woke you up only when I knew you were ready. How it was always with my mouth and always with my hips. The way I always came before breakfast did.
The laughter ricocheting down the hall on days we lived our lives like nothing existed beyond those walls. How sometimes we could go days without leaving the building. The sound of our own little world spinning. How sometimes we only ever opened up the front door to let the dog out.
My hands clapping, a smile breaking across my face, when you’d tell me to get ready for a date. The five-inch Vince Camuto heels you said brought out my calves clattering on the floor. How fast my heart beat waiting for you to tell me I looked beautiful.
Always so much silence. Did they hear it before we did?
Those walls we lived in were paper thin. I wonder if they could hear the life we lived.
Your buttons scattering on the floor, my lace tearing, immediately after walking in through the door from the airport. The sound of that first time you visited home while being stationed out for work. Your hunger. The way you laid me down and took me on the dining table, its legs scraping against the floor, the bruises forming on my back, my head hitting the wooden surface. How much I needed it. How much it hurt.
I wonder if they knew we never agreed on much, except rap, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and Janis Joplin. The Sonos blasting them on weekends bliss lived with us. The humming inside us. The buzzing. The radiance. The clinking of glasses at that bar cart you wanted since we finished watching Mad Men.
My absence when you played the country I couldn’t stand. Me, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam when you were away. The swaying in my underwear to Lana and Fleetwood Mac. How much I missed you over all the jazz some evenings during sunset. Me invading your privacy over Spanish ballads. Jamming a butter knife into that locked drawer in your office. Prying it open and throwing out all its contents. Crying and howling because you’d kept mementos from your affair.
My stomach growling while I stood naked in front of the mirror examining every place my skin was fuller, softer, where hers was not.
The tears rolling down my cheek and soaking up the pillow every night the summer you were away like a bedtime ritual.
The hurling against the window of a rose quartz crystal.
The thoughts. The doubt. The always wondering.
My bones cracking and breaking when I came back from visiting you while you were still out of state on business. My hollering and swearing to a space devoid of you that I could smell an umpteenth her on you. The silence that followed after in the bedroom. How even though you weren’t there, I couldn’t bring myself to sleep in your bed. How I stayed on the couch for eleven days straight.
Me sweeping up and vacuuming my heart for a millionth time.
The Sonos louder. The songs sadder. The pouring of wine and liquor in crystal glasses.
My phone ringing, the texts coming through, my heart dancing not for you.
The silence that followed after you called to tell me you were coming back home for good. The disappointment in my voice.
Did they know I was falling out of love before I did?
Me setting dinner down less sweetly and more bitterly. Us sitting across a dining table where we once made love, eating in silence like two strangers.
The inclement weather.
The arguments. How your jaw and fists clenched when I was only tender. How your anger cut me into ribbons when I only asked for what was important to me.
My compliancy. The whispers from my mouth when I’d ask the walls is this what love is. You sticking your hands down my throat. The coughing that followed after.
Me fishing for my voice only to say things like I’ll do better and I’m sorry, when it was your hands that were soaked.
Could they smell my blood? Could they smell the bleach? I wonder if they could hear me throwing the scrubbing brush against the wall. My fingernails scratching at the scarlet grout between the tiles. You sharpening your claws and teeth.
Me still saying I love you. The silence that always followed after.
So much silence.
Could they hear me trying to fill it up? Beating eggs. Frying up bacon. The glasses at the bar cart, the stronger the drink, the louder the clink. The headboard. My hips. The hot water running angrily in the shower each time you finished without even looking at me. The pills coming out more often from my prescription bottle. Secret texts coming through. My staying up late alone in the living room. Me still hanging up pictures trying to paint the walls. The way we filled that place up with other people’s laughter. The white lines on the granite. How much more often the door slammed and I took the dog out. The poems inside my head. How they started to hurt. How they stopped hurting only when they weren’t about you anymore.
Did they hear my insides screaming the moment my skin finally split?
Your hands like salt on me.
Could they hear the silent tears?
The flames. Me blazing in silence with all the anger.
The rope from your wrist to around my neck fraying. The way you said I love you again only after it broke.
Did they hear you with her? Could they hear the final shot?
The moment the final bullet pierced right through my chest. The silence that followed after. The way I couldn’t even feel a thing.
I wonder, when you came home to find no trace of me, what did they hear?