On moon lit nights she would visit my tiny window as I lay in bed thinking of when we last were together. Staring at the grimy, damp ceiling listening to the twig tapping at the window, I wait for her to call. The stained bed is beneath me, sheets crumpled beneath my rigid body, while the wind whistles and howls as I remain. All is motionless on the inside while a whirlwind of furious movement is all I hear from outside. The tap drips into the brown stained sink. The clock ticks, the window creaks and still I lie, waiting silently and patiently for the woman in the wind, the woman who no longer lives.
We were happy once, a lifetime ago, before the wind and the rain. Her long red hair glowed like gold in the sun as we laughed together in days long gone. Under blue skies, we would walk in bliss with neither a care nor fear in the world. She would smile a warm smile that couldn’t be controlled and couldn’t be stopped as it spread from cheek to cheek. If the wind blew she would flick it from her face, golden streaks pouring round her, careless and uncontainable. Now she is gone because of what I did, but sometimes I still hear her laughter carried to me on the wind outside my window.
I would watch her laugh. I could drink her joy and bask in her beauty. Hands in pockets, strolling beside her, her boundless energy would fill me with pleasure, though I would not show it. My sarcastic, silly comments about those we saw in the park would make her giggle constantly. She would give me the eyes of an embarrassed child or perhaps a stern parent when I said something too coarse about one of the people we saw walking amongst us in the park. Her big cheeks would flush red and she would leap around me, pulling my hands out of my pockets and dancing, swinging my arms and staring at me with simple childlike delight. Still my head would be lowered, unable to look this beauty in the eyes, still unable to share unabashed in her joy.
‘What about them?’ she would whisper in my ear as we strolled towards another young couple, lost in each other and enjoying the hot sun and how it shimmered on the lake.
Picking up on anything I could criticise, I would say ‘he’s an artist, a fashion designer maybe. He’ll be through with her if she wears the wrong shoes.’
She would giggle and whisper ‘And her?’
‘She’s Britain’s next top model… thick as shit but knows what styles are in this season. Daddy’s probably been subsidising her fashion sense until this bloke came along and now she calls him Daddy’.
‘Gross!’ she exclaims, smiling and pulling my hand from my pocket again so she can link her arm with mine. So affectionate she was, so innocent, so sweet and so vulnerable.
I squint at the couple. He really does look like a fashion designer. Skinny with even skinnier black jeans, a child size black leather jacket, stripy t-shirt, and hair that says wind swept but to me says hours in front of the mirror, meticulous grooming. My hands clench unconsciously, my chewed nails dig into my palms. I bite down on my lower lip and look ahead as we pass the delightfully attired young prats. I could literally tear their fucking heads off right here.
I’ll never understand what she saw in me. Me… allergic to happiness like only the middle class really can be. Spoiled and surly, my only redeeming feature was being able to make her laugh. She would dance, sing, raise her head to the sunshine and let it soak her. Her long flowing hair would wildly sweep around her and all the while, I would walk beside her, hood up, hands clenched tightly in my pockets, stealing snatched glances at her radiating happiness. I thought she might be able to change me but I was wrong. That is why she is no longer here and why I am alone.
As the twig taps incessantly at the window, I can see the moon, bold and brilliant just like all those many moons ago when I lost her. She was too young for such a terrible fate and now the moon and the stars, the twig tapping and the drips in the sink taunt me. It was inevitable that it would end. One so beautiful on the inside and out could never be contained by one so vile, so hateful and so wretched. But I tried. I desperately attempted to keep making her laugh, furiously desired to keep her wanting to spend time with me and pull me around like a loose limbed hooded puppet. I tried to hide the darkness that lurked beneath my sick sense of humour but keeping that seething resentment at happy humanity bottled up could not work forever.
The red-haired woman in the wind is dead now. Long ago it feels since I made the mistake, the hours have stretched into days, months and years and my torment is now permanent. She carelessly let me go for another lover who could make her happier. Her beauty and her laughter needed feeding. My dry put-downs could only amuse her for so long. And of course when we were alone and there were no passers by like in the park, my insults would turn to her, and it was she who would bear the brunt of my need to criticise and make myself feel better by putting others down.
So when she left, I did something unspeakable. All that rage, all that anger came rushing out like a force 12 hurricane. On a moonlit night like this, I took a life. I raged at her. I raged at him. I tore them both apart. I didn’t have the power or the control to stop myself. She hurt me and she got what she deserved. The pair of them, lying there unsuspecting. If I’d had a gun I’d have done it with that and saved them the suffering. But I didn’t so I took a knife to them. No jokes. No smiles. No laughing. I tore into them like an unleashed monster. Again and again I stabbed them. Their faces, their bodies, their outstretched arms; her beautiful red hair flying around as she tried to protect herself. Blood everywhere, in geysers and all over me. I tore them both apart.
And now I sit alone. Forever alone with only my thoughts of her and the golden hair that glistened in the sun. The twig taps at the tiny barred window, the tap drips in the sink and all I can do is lie here in my crusty cell, the moon barely visible from behind the bars, casting a long shadow over me. I’ve got all the time in the world to wait for her to visit me but I doubt she’ll be back. The wind carries her laughter to me often enough and it is more than I can bear.
Illustration: Rylan Cavell