The door gave way on the third kick. I wished that it hadn’t as soon as the smell hit me. The notion of what a smell is will never fully explain what entered my nostrils that day. She had been there for three days, windows shut, in the dry Sri Lankan heat.
Her position was familiar, sitting in her favourite chair, facing the television. Her shorts and T-shirt seemed almost inappropriate for the situation. She was there, but gone.
The arc of blood up the wall behind her was brown now. A death rainbow, and at the end of it there was no pot of gold. The air was me, and I was the air. I breathed her decomposition.
I spent years thinking that she had been murdered. The Colombo murder squad hinted at the boys from the beach. They insinuated that she was a prostitute, that one thing had led to another. She was just another victim of just another brutal robbery in a poor country. Now I’m not so sure. Something happens to you when you discover a dead body. There is an interaction, even though one of you is no longer there. She told me something that day. It has taken me a long time to hear it but I hear it now.
I hear her pain, her disappointment, her release of expectation. I hear her dreams slowly disappearing as her heart hardened.
I hear her locking the door from the inside.