The low hum of white noise emitted from the television. Elo rose from his slumber on the living room sofa, where had been strewn about all afternoon. The sun had already set. Moonlight shone in through the half-cracked drapes. As he stirred in the living room, the click, click, click of fingertips meetings computer keys echoed into the air from down the hall. Elo rose with excitement, and abandoning all logic, began to head down the hall of the apartment to the spare room to investigate. The wood floors squeaked beneath his every footstep. The closer he came to the room, the louder the clicking grew. He stood at the entrance of the room for a moment, calculating his next move. With the click, click, clicking all around him, his left right hand reached out and hovered over the shiny, brass, door knob. His hand trembled and he was unable to get a grip on the knob at first. He tried a second time, and his palms slid right off the handle. He realized then that he had begun to perspire. His temples, forehead, and palms dripped with moisture. He wiped the front and back of his hands against his corduroy pants. He shook himself to try to snap out of it. He tried the knob again, and again his hand slipped. He grew frustrated and had to take a deep breath to calm himself. Once he had grown sufficiently tranquil, he worked up the nerve, and opened the door to find absolutely nothing. Nothing appeared in the room at all. The computer was off and the keys untouched, though he could still hear the clicking. The only other natural sound emanating from the room, was the breeze blowing in through an ajar window. Elo stood still for a long while. The breeze calmed, he parted the curtains and gazed out of the window. He couldn’t help but reminisce about her. She was always so full of vibrancy. Her every action was filled with elegance, whether she was smoking in the bathtub after a long day, or seated in this spare room typing away at her manuscript. She knew exactly how to set his teeth on edge, when she was upset with him; and exactly how to assuage him when things were tough. She was the one who had found this very apartment. She was everything, the beginning and the end of his day. They used to spend their free days hunting new galleries and cafes – art and coffee, the essential ingredients to happiness. They went to plays dressed in early 17th century opera attire for kicks. She understood what it meant to be an outsider. She understood how fast his mind moved from thought to thought and dream to dream. She was clever, raw, and frighteningly earnest. He honestly could not fathom how to survive without her.
Music and laughter, two things the apartment was once filled with. Now it was filled with the click, click, clicking of her fingertips meeting computer keys. Iyla didn’t mind it, working on her manuscript kept her sanity in tact. Expressing, herself through writing was her ultimate catharsis, and the clicking sound provided the perfect ambient noise. Anytime she stopped, she started to think far too much for her own comfort. Of course she had to take breaks. One cannot labor for hours on end, without breaking away to stretch one’s limbs, eat, bathe, relieve oneself. Iyla stared out the window briefly for a moment during one of these breaks, and despaired at her lack of contact with the outside world. Yet, by the same token she knew she could not handle all that was happening out there. She could hardly even cope with what was going on in her own home, in her own mind. Writing was the only outlet she had, so she continued. That click, click, clicking that she knew so well, a result of feelings spilling onto the screen. Characters based on the people she knew, hid in plain sight behind the guise of falsified names and biographical details. She almost felt guilty, but she needed her writing and her writing needed her. It was her life support. She yawned, and then the sound of footsteps echoed in from down the hall. She ignored them at first, until they grew louder and closer. The sound came to a halt, just before the footsteps seemed to the reach the door to the room she was in. She held her breath in suspense for a moment, but nothing happened. She returned to the desk and her work. She was so enveloped in it that she did not notice the door had come open. She did however, feel a presence surrounding her. Continuing her work, she exhaled, resolved that it nothing more than the result of exhaustion. Still, the presence lingered. She couldn’t shake the feeling, and began applying pragmatic explanations to soothe herself. She moved on from believing that she was tired, to deciding that her imagination was playing tricks. The curtains seemed to part by the window, but that was just the breeze. The wind had after all, been active the whole day. She swore she heard footsteps behind her, but that was just the pipes settling beneath the wooden floors of the apartment. What else could it be? Everything had a reasonable justification. Everything except when she felt a hand touch her shoulder. Not just any hand, but his hand. Iyla knew it from the contour of his fingers, from the weight of it, and the gentle loving nature with which it sat there. She could feel his caress in that moment, the way she had a thousand times when he was still alive. She yearned for him and in that moment she could have sworn the warmth of his hand was real on her shoulder. Was his spirit still wandering the world somewhere? Was he here? No. He was gone. She watched six men carry him to an open grave four months ago. He was gone and she was going mad. That was the only explanation left.