I’ll never wash these clothes
I want to keep the stain
Your blood to me is precious
nor would I spill it in vain
your spirit sings
though your lips never part
singing only to me
the thief of your heart
–“Thief of Your Heart”, Sinead O’Conner.
His corpse lay in an ice coloured room. Blue. Lifeless. They’d cut the clothes from his body to get to the wounds. The bloodied remnants lay in a pile next to the chrome table. Her shock was too huge. To vast to render into meaning. She was numbed by the sight of him. This man she had loved. Dead on a table. And she stood for what seemed like an age. Just looking. Taking in the enormity of what was no longer there. The lack. The deficiency of his flesh. The hollow blankness of an inanimate canvass.
Eventually, she reached over to touch him. Hesitantly. And with the tip of her forefinger she traced the line of his bone white arm. Felt no resistance in the soft tissue. Felt the cold of the grave. And the tears came. Like an ocean. Dripping unchecked from her eyes, her cheeks, her chin. The pain came in a rush and she doubled up with the force of it. Felt a keening rise up in her throat. She buried her face in his shoulder. Dug her hands into him. Tried to capture the scent of him. That warm, deep scent that was her lullaby. But, there was nothing. Nothing but the faint, rank odour of formaldehyde and death.
Shaking, she stood straight again. Took a deep shuddering breath and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. And with exquisite gentleness, she cupped his face and leaned back down to kiss him.
“Goodbye baby,” she whispered. “Goodbye, my love.”
And steeling herself, she wiped her face again and reached for her mobile phone.
“Get me Bobby,” she breathed venomously to the nameless voice she’d dialled. “There’s going to be hell to pay.”