Clang! Clang! Clang!
Orange and green-ade marbles stranded in all directions and bounced repeatedly, vibrating in its place, until nothingness. Yesterday was galaxy and princess marbles; second on the list of favourites. Tomorrow is Lutz and oxblood – the first on the list for both of us. Lutz was his.
The neighbours demanded an explanation. We mocked them behind closed doors. The floor laid with marbles – occupying every space, every tile, every corner. He held me by my fingertips, lowered his posture, gentlemanlike, reenacting a scene where a suitor escorts his lady to the annual ball. I balanced atop the marbles barefooted, dancing swiftly on my tiptoes from the next assemble to the next, exchanging soft giggles.
Marbles collide. Asymmetrical. Tap. Tap. Tap. Echoed the house. Till dawn.
He did not return home.
He would never miss it.
Not on the day of Lutz.
I did not sleep a wink. Waiting. Praying. Crying. Blaming. Thinking. Days. Weeks. Months. Four years since his disappearance. No more pouring marbles, decorating the floor, and dancing till dawn. Lost. Faded. Vanished. Away. Gone. The tradition we once had, when he was still around.
Left in the basement. Cobwebs crawled. Territorial, unless provoked. If he was here to see it, he’d got rid of it and pour all the marbles in their respective baskets at once. Sun splayed on its surface, glossy and reflective. Somehow, resembling a watercolour background.
Half-empty. I turned my back and took a step up the creaking stairs, carrying the weight of not just my body, but my loss. Clang! A marble dropped to the floor and rolled towards my right heel. Not Lutz.
The inside of a marble. Trapped. I. Him.