Without the mask, where will you hide?
Can’t find yourself, lost in your lie.
I know the truth now,
I know who you are,
And I don’t love you anymore.
Everybody’s Fool – Evanescence
Police sirens are chopping my dream in pieces. I open my eyes, but all I can see is the blue shining of flashing lights sweeping over the ceiling of my bedroom. The red display of my alarm clock tells me it is 4:13 am. No need to tell me though that the drama, fifteen floors lower, is all about her. I simply know it. Instinctively. I’ve always known that one day this would happen. Only the moment and manner were left to guess. Well, like this. Now. Although now; how long has she been lying there before someone found her and called 911? At this hour and this time of the week the street is mostly empty. But then, the impact must have been tremendous. What does it sound like, a human body hitting the pavement after a ten floors fall? Thank God she lives on a lower floor than I. Else she would have passed by my bedroom window, whilst I was sleeping through it. How ironical.
My own cynism makes me shiver. For a moment I fear that she took Gilles with her on her leap to eternity. That would not be his first fall, Rachel has dropped him more often out of her drunk arms. But on those occasions I was there to catch him. And the fall was not as deep.
Another approaching siren, an ambulance this time. A bit late, arent’t we? The victim is bathing in her own blood, like a giant pizza calzone, getting cold already. I guess the police will put up a screen around her body to prevent bypassers from having to see this untastful scenery. The siren gets louder before being switched off under my window. The sound of opening and closing car doors. The static noice and bleeps of radios is reflected by the surface of the canal; a weird acoustic effect. Will they let her lie there for forensic research, or will she be taken in a body bag right away? The cause of death is obvious. But probably the police will consider the possibility she did not jump by herself. They do not know her the way I do. And who will be suspect number one?
They will ask around in the building, and everyone will be pointing at me. We never told anyone about the explosive way we broke up. But two years ago, before we even really were a couple, we already were lovers in the grapevine. People without a life make up huge stories about others and we were a popular subject.
Again, Gilles crosses my mind. Did she take him, or is he toddling around in her living room on the tenth floor, heading for the open window that swallowed his mum? Is a two and a half year old capable of climbing out a window? Looking for mummy? Not last time I saw him, but that is a long time ago.
I must get the hell down. I gave back her front door key a long time ago, but the police can force their way in. Would that make me look like a suspect? Bullshit, I already am. Suspect with a capital S. It would surprise me if I can see the next sunrise from my own apartment. If they don’t arrest me right away, they will as soon as they find the many hate-mails in Rachel’s computer she send me after our last crash. Thank God I always answered her in a reasonable tone of voice.
I hear windows being opened. A woman starts screaming. Apparently the screens aren’t set up yet. The streetlights are strong enough to unveil the identity of the deceased; let the gossips commence. Will my neighbours believe that I am capable of killing her? I can hardly believe that, but I have heard more than enough unbelievable stories about Rachel and me in this building.
The screamlady has started wheeping. The first neighbours will be standing outside by now, in their dressing gowns and on slippers, chilling in the early April cold. Perhaps they can tell the police that there must be a child left upstairs. Again my cynism makes me shiver. Only twenty months ago she was lying right here, next to me in my bed, cuddled up, warm, smoothly breathing. Now she is lying on the cold, hard pavement. Freezing, broken, death.
I feel relief. Bitch. You’re not my problem anymore. Even her child can not make me feel worse, as if I projected all my hate for her on him. Fuck you, kid. The only concern I have is a result of some kind of rational sense of duty.
I hear them, the unavoidable footsteps that I knew would come soon. The elevator doors are sliding, whispering voices and radio noise, closer by this time.
They are at my front door.
The doorbel cuts through the darkness in my appartment. I get out of bed, pick up my dressing gown, put it on and saunter through the corridor to answer the door.
This is the first chapter of a new novel that will soon appear.