It makes you wonder, Marie thought. Sometimes the world out there is stranger than it ought to be. Sometimes, it seems as though this is not the same world you remember. Sometimes it feels as though overnight everything you thought you knew and understood about this world has been taken away and replaced with something that no longer makes any sense.
Marie turned back from the window. She shivered and pulled the dressing gown tight around herself. Outside it must have snowed again after he left. The tracks of his footprints were now just slight ridges in the snow down her front path to the street.
If it snowed any more, those faint remnants of his footprints would be gone too. Almost as if he had never been here.
His side of the bed was bare of his presence too. Only the slight dip where he had laid each night for the last seven years remained. His glasses, his mobile, his book, even the alarm clock he’ brought with him when he moved in, had gone from the bedside table.
Marie gave a wry smile. The batteries in the alarm clock had run out years ago and never been replaced as they both used the alarms on their phones.
Marie wondered if she’d miss his alarm going off three-quarters of an hour before hers. It wasn’t so much the sound of the alarm; it was him, Paul, leaving the bed. The sudden coldness on her back as he slipped away from her and rolled over, that was what she’d miss.
She liked those ten minutes while his alarm clock snoozed, feeling him behind her, holding her, cuddled up close. Usually he had an erection pressing against her bottom or easing its way between her legs.
She would miss him.
She stood in the bedroom doorway and looked back at the bed, looking too large in its emptiness. But she was glad he’d gone.
Her brow puckered as she started, puzzled but the thought that had sprung into her mind, seemingly out of nowhere. She’d thought she’d be crying, planning self-indulgent evenings of chocolate, wine and weepy films.
Instead, she smiled.
Yes, she was glad he was gone. Glad he was out of her life. Glad he was never coming back. The couple, Marie and Paul, or Paul and Marie, were no more.
She switched off the light in the bedroom.
Now it was just Marie.
She padded across the landing, her bare feet cool on the rug, then the cold bare floorboards. First, the smooth varnished ones, then the rough old ones. It was typical of Paul, leaving a job half-finished. Marie had a brief moment of pity for his new woman. Would she lie there at night too, next to a snoring Paul? His stickiness between her thighs leaving her frustrated at yet another job Paul had left half-finished and that she now had to finish off on her own?
Marie glanced out of the landing window at the world turned white and – somehow – brighter for this time in the morning by the snow.
She was glad he had gone and she was glad the new snow had wiped her whole world clean again.