Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Polly Riggs

Till Death Do Us Part

My breath dances in circles, swirling ephemeral in the cold air. The night and street lamps work together, creating a crowd of shadows to keep me company. They nestle around me, curl back against the grey wall, keep me warm as I stand, waiting.
He’s been in there over an hour now. I can see him through the solid wall, sitting on one of the pine bar stools, slurping beer like it’s liquid gold. He’s laughing, always laughing, shaking private school locks over the collar of his posh polo. Another nameless lad with a chest the width of a small car claps him on the back, and the drinks continue to flow, served by a pretty barmaid with too much cleavage on show and wasted ambitions rotting behind her eyes. Well, he’ll stop laughing soon.
I shuffle my feet; they make an echo in the silent night which snaps me out of cavernous thoughts. The alley in which I stand is cramped and dirty, and my legs feel more like leaden concrete than flesh. Intermittently, the door to the pub opens, cutting a searchlight through the dark and forcing me to recede further into my dark, dank passage. I slip one hand into my pocket, and feel the powerful relief of the knife. My fingers caress the handle with the tenderness of a lover; testing the purity of the blade. When I withdraw my hand, a single bead of blood blinks at me from my fingertip, a shining badge of honour. I stick out my tongue and lick it, feeling the warmth burn a section scarlet. Once again, I think of her.
From the instant I saw her, I loved her. She was sitting across the café; cheeks politely blushed, auburn hair braided roughly across one shoulder. Sipping my overpriced latte, I feigned nonchalance, but I was watching. Intently watching. Intuitively, she sensed my gaze, and her eyes snapped up to meet mine. They were watery grey, naive somehow, yet brimful of an overwhelming sadness. I wanted to dive in and plant my soul within their midst. With the kind of spontaneity normally exclusive to fiction, I stood and slid into the seat opposite her. I wanted her, I chose her. But then she chose him.
The door jangles again, the sound of tinkling glasses and normality spewing outwards. I know it’s him immediately – his expensive aftershave contaminates the air. After many exaggerated guffaws he separates from the rest. I knew he would. He walks a lopsided swagger past my hiding place; the sheer nerve of it makes my blood bubble. I begin to walk too, leg veins frozen straight after standing for so long. Though I try to keep my breathing evenly spaced and my pace natural, each effortless stride he takes nurtures the fury building within me.
We reach the corner of the road; I’m unable to resist any longer. In one clean movement, I plunge the blade deep into obliging flesh. The relief of it is overwhelming; the first gulp of oxygen after being underwater for a lifetime. Fist still welded around the handle, I twist for good measure, and hear a gasp of air escape my frozen lips. I relax my grasp, watching him turn. Shock and horror is distorting his face. I let out a warped giggle.
I collapse on the chewing gum stained concrete, blood sprinting away from me. Reaching down, he yanks the knife from my heaving carcass and squats so our noses are almost touching. As his eyes bore into mine with sickening bewilderment, I whisper:
“She’s yours now.”

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