Justin yawned. He edged his way down the stairs in his bare feet as he had done every morning for two months, careful to avoid the creaky tread just before the end. He held the tray of food in one hand as he rounded the corridor and rummaged in his pocket for the keys with the other. Then he looked up.
Nobody likes to be outwitted, which is why he cursed aloud when he spotted that the bedroom open was open. Then he silently cursed himself for leaving it unlocked. So much for his routines. He put down the tray and rushed across the hall to check the bathroom. He already knew there would be nobody there but that didn’t stop him bashing the door open. The momentum forced it to clang against the radiator and rebound against his foot.
“Ow! Shit.” He hopped about and rubbed his toe. “Double shit.”
As much as he hoped for the best, he also knew this meant that she had already gone. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. He thought he had everything covered, that he had been meticulous. He thought his planning was foolproof.
But she clearly wasn’t a fool.
He returned to the bedroom. The bed was neat. He walked over and placed a hand under the covers. He felt the residual warmth.
He picked up a scrap of paper that was resting on the pillow. It was a handwritten note saying: Justin, somehow, I love you. I know I’ll miss you and I’m sorry to have to say this, but I won’t be coming back.
Henry Bladon is a writer of short fiction and poetry based in Somerset in the UK. He has degrees in psychology and mental health policy, and a PhD in literature and creative writing. His work can be seen in Entropy, FridayFlashFiction, thedrabble, Mercurial Stories, The Ekphrastic Review, and Spillwords Press, among other places.