The Break

I wrote a short story a few years ago…  maybe you can call it a poem, I’m not sure. But here it is. It was inspired by a painting ~  Leonid Pasternak: At The Window: Autumn 1913 (see below).

She said “I’ll be back in three months, i just need to do this”. And so He waited patiently.

Through cold mornings where half the bed lay uncreased like the shirts She would iron for him and leave hanging on the corners of all the doors in their home.

Through runny eggs and builders tea, just like the way She liked to start her day.
She would drink it as she walked around in her bare feet and mutter under her breath about how She will one day quit her job, leave the system and find flight in the margins of their daily grind.

And He waited….

Through electricity bills and the broken boiler, forcing him to bathe in water boiled in the kettle.
She would wash his hair and make a mountain of foam on his head and laugh until it fell onto his face and then back in the tub, dissolving.

Through long evenings where his book remained untouched, and dinner tasted the same and the tv, which only came to life in her presence, fleeted past him. These evenings were the hardest, without her.

And He waited….

Through changing colours as Summer met Autumn and fell into his arms and let them envelope her.
She loved the way his shoes would crumple on the leaves at every step. Shoes they bought together, from the man who said ‘Ye two remind me of my Mrs and I before she died, ah…’, and She smiled and looked at him, her lashes in sync with his.

And He waited….

Through his birthday, a day he spent in bed wondering where She might be, what might She be wearing,thinking, doing, knowing, feeling. In bed, arms lying by his side and eyes wide open, He waited….

Through Sunday afternoons where She would sit by his side and write down all the things She needed to do, before Monday came. Her life was a long list of letters which punctuated their daily existence.
He would watch her as She wrote, the caress of ink at each arch of her ‘y’s and ‘p’s.
The way She would occasionally twitch and wrinkle her nose and purse her lips, almost as if humanity itself relied on the words She wrote.
And in those moments, those mere movements, he understood

And He waited…. 

Through long walks by himself, walking on the left side of the pavement, because She liked to walk on the right. Dodging people, dogs, lamp posts, buildings, streets, arguements, long silences, quiet tears in the bathroom followed by making up. He soon found himself back where he started, standing at his doorstep, keys in hand to open a door, with no embrace on the other side.

Through Autumn he waited patiently, observing the slow undressing of the trees before his eyes, like her in the middle of the night, when the city slept, and all that mattered was the world they had created for eachother, together.

And He waited….

Until 3 months came to an end, one Friday evening, just past six, where he stood by the phone, clean shirt and palms clammy. The phone rang, “I can’t do it, I’m not coming back, I’m sorry, but we are not supposed to see forever together”. Beep. The line died leaving reverberations of a distant sound which met the beating of his heart.

He left the phone, put the kettle on and removed all thread from his body and stepped into the shower where he stayed, until his skin wrinkled, like her nose, and grew pale, like the pink of her dress as She walked out that summers night.

© 2014  Shroomantics ~ Rahima Begum

At the Window 1913

At the Window. Autumn, 1913
Leonid Osipovich Pasternak (1862-1945)


About shroomantics

Artist, Activist, Maker, Thinker, Creator, Shaker, Nature Lover :) Join my creative journey at


  1. Reaz.

    What a Byaaatch. I have a friend whose a bit eccentric who went to get milk & didn’t come back for 2 years as he somehow ended up in Barcelona – although when he came back he made sure he had the milk he originally went out for..

  2. Good to her he managed to get the milk in the end. Breakfasts need to be just right ey 😉

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