Trigger warning: suicide
Emaciated, he stood silently wedged between the wall and their table unnoticed. He listened intently to their conversation.
“She’s been gone for four weeks now; Arthur reckons she won’t come back. At first, he was being dead cocky about her never leaving. Now he’s a mess… he reckons he’ll never move on.”
That was the thing about being as thin as a wafer, nobody knows you’re there.
“But did Arthur really love her? If he did, he wouldn’t have chosen to shag another bird.”
“True true, especially a big bird.”
The women cackled. He grew bored. Wafer thin, he slid across the wall to listen to another conversation. The residents of this table sipped on freshly brewed coffee. The young woman at the table dusted croissant crumbs off of her lap. Wafer thin, he sucked up the scent of the strong coffee and croissant crumbs, unnoticed listening silently to their conversation.
“I did professional dancing for five years. Now I’m going to eat all the bloody croissants I want. It’s a psychopath’s industry I’m telling you. God forbid you turn up to practice with a bloated stomach.”
“I could never do it; I don’t know how you did it.”
Wafer thin he sighed and slid away, out the door, no need to open it. He fit through the cracks slid down the street overcome with loneliness. Carefully, he avoided the occasional puddle shimmering upon the pavement. He made his way into the local park slid onto the bench wedging himself in a crack so as to not fall through. He was finally noticed, but by an unwelcome audience.
“Shoo,” he breathed out.
The pigeons flew away to some crumbs on the opposite side of the park. A couple approached the bench, ignoring him. They sat by, placing their hands upon each other’s laps, brushing their faces against one another, whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears. Wafer thin, he moved away. He looked up to the sky and saw the grey clouds approaching. A sign to make haste and go home.
He hurried inside, slipping into the hall heading straight up the stairs and silently placed himself on his bed. One , two, three deep breaths before he closed his eyes. Maybe if he shut them tight enough, he would open them, and things would change.
Wallflower, shrinking violet, he wanted to be anything but. He stared at the drab ceiling above him. Then to his surprise, he heard the key turn in the front door. Could it be? Had she returned? Wafer thin not anymore, he will be whole again. He secretly rejoiced at the jangle of the keys. A deep sigh from the hall, he shot up frantically heading towards the hall praying his ears had not deceived him. She stood there, five foot tall to be precise, staring at him sadly.
“I was hoping you wouldn’t be in. I’m sorry, I just came to return the key and take my mail.”
She ran her hands over the short ginger bob that framed her face. She avoided his gaze as she awkwardly hung her key on the wall hook. She quickly bent down and picked up the large stack of mail placed haphazardly in the corner of the hall.
“Look after yourself,” she said, her voice breaking towards the end of the sentence.
He barely managed to place his limp hand on her shoulder as she slipped out the front door. Heading back up the stairs, he ran himself a bath and got in swiftly. The water consumed him; his frail hands accompanied his body as it slowly sunk down. He placed the image of her in his mind for the last time, her ginger hair a flame extinguished by the waters that engulfed him as he finally allowed himself to crumble.
This short story was written by Creative Writing Graduate Asiyah Jassat. You can find her on Instagram @simply.assi