It ached. Horribly. Every inch of my limbs resonated with a dull throb of pain. It started from the center of me and pulsed outwards till it reached my fingertips, then it would repeat. Wave after wave of aching.
My rational half told me I was being melodramatic, but if you've ever been in love you know that your heart and your head are two separate entities. What one feels does not coincide with the opinion of the other. I hurt, and no matter what my mind said, my heart wouldn't listen.
It had been a week since I had last seen him; my last memory of him was me throwing him out of the apartment we shared. A week since I caught him in bed -- our bed -- with another woman. Retracing those memories made the next wave of pain a little stronger, and I dug my fingers into the center of my chest, bunching the fabric of the shirt beneath my grip. I leaned against a lamp post to center myself.
Yes, it was all very melodramatic, but could you blame me? Four years together, and this is how we end. I had been expecting him to propose at any minute, wondering what was keeping him. Now I knew.
The first thing I did when I had finally managed to stop crying for more than 5 minutes was drag that bed out behind our complex and set it on fire, frame and all. It went up so easily, like the furniture itself knew that it deserved to be destroyed, like it was their fault. Unfortunately, it burned a little too well, and the fire department had be called. And that in turn had lead to my building manager to flip the fuck out and kick me out of the building. Some clause about "intentional destruction of property".
I didn't care, I didn't want to stay within the walls that housed what we once had. I didn't even want the furniture we had amassed together, and it all sold very fast. His beloved, top of the line stereo was the first to go, probably because I sold it for a quarter of what it was worth. It wasn't like he could find me to reprimand me, since I no longer lived in the apartment and ditched my old cellphone. Plus, I figured he owed me big, I needed to start over again, and now I had money to do it.
Which was what I was doing. One week of mourning was more than that bastard deserved, and now that I had no apartment and loads of cash burning a hole in my pocket, I needed to find someplace to live. Unfortunately, our small city had very little in the way of apartment selection, and compounded with the shitty reference from my previous landlord, didn't give me a lot of options of places to choose from.
I was half a block away from my 6th viewing, still leaning against the lamp post. This part of town was a little shabbier than my previous digs, but beggars can't be choosers. It wasn't a straight up crack-district, though, and that's all I asked. The street was dimly lit, the lamp posts were all on, but not strong enough to really help your vision. Older, brick buildings were the standard here, all multi-compartment living, with some of the apartments being renovated into small specialty shops for candles, book stores, or cafés. The more I looked around the more I liked it; it was interesting, not run down. I could be happy here, though it was such a departure from my previous set up of middle-American fear and materialism.
I pushed myself off from the lamp post, and began to walk the rest of the distance between me and the viewing. I scanned the identical structures for numbers to mark my progress, but I think I knew instinctively which one was my destination. The rest of the houses flickered with lights inside -- the dull-blue of the TV or the warm yellow of table lamps -- but it was the only one with the porch light was on. They must be waiting for me, and I was glad that they allowed me to check the property to so late, after my shift ended.
I closed the distance between me and the house with the light, and stood in front of it, evaluating it before I went forward to meet my appointment. It was just like the others on the street, similar in structure. A solid brick structure, symmetrical and box-like with very little embellishment. The door was smack-dab in the center of the second floor, elevated with sturdy stairs leading to it, flanked by two large windows. There were three floors, including a basement that was split into two suites by the stairs in the center, with two small flights of their own descending to their respective doors. One of the suites was dark, curtains drawn. That must be the one I was set to view. But it was the other one caught my attention.