Cora had been away for a week now. She smiled to herself hearing her own words. Away. She would never be away from home now. You cannot measure distance with respect to something, when that something stops existing. There was no home anymore. She had expected to not belong, absolutely. It was not a surprise, but it was a bit of a shock to learn how swiftly it could be accomplished. There was only this old room now, with its caking plaster, the barely standing walls and a roof wet in patches. There were even a few leaks, and she felt hysterical comparing her leaky roof and her life ridden with holes.

She wished she was crying.

Great heaving sobs. For long enough that the tears stop coming and there is just that strange, dry strangulating sound. Like the air itself was full of her grief.

Waiting for the ‘axe to fall’.

She wondered what it would feel like. There was a small writing table in the corner of the room, made up of a dark wood, which resembled somewhat the executioner’s block. She barely remembered when she had bought it. It had been quite useful over the years, and she had fallen asleep on it while typing out dreary emails a number of times.

She knew the sensation – Of feeling the smooth wood against her cheek. She did it now. Put her head down on the cold wood, and turned it sideways so she could see the empty room, and now that there were tears in her eyes, it seemed like a mess of colours. She swept away the hair from her neck and felt the cold AC air on that bare bone, the first one. Her mother’s hand used to rest there, when she was brushing Cora’s hair in the morning, in time for school. She could suddenly feel that warm imprint again. She thought of the axe. But no single thought stayed in her head. If she was going to die today, right now, it would be wonderful. Anything would be better than this terrible waiting.  Maybe she should try to make peace with her sins. Or run away again. But there is no time for either anyway.

She exhaled, and all the noise suddenly clarified into a snatch of song. She felt a strange laugh bubbling in her, because it was his song and it was so fitting that she would remember it now. She would always be a woman to him.

She closed her eyes and there was a slight swoosh. The sound of air being parted by a sharp edge and that panicked fraction of a second, when her brain registered the incredible hurt before her head was off, and there was merciful oblivion.

The rain-water had been rotting the balustrades for a while now.


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