70. Try Some, Buy Some

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Way back in time, 
someone said try some
I tried some,
now buy some,
I bought some...


The key still opens the door. I don't know why this surprises me, but it does. No one has changed the locks.

I have to take a deep breath before I step inside. I'd never thought I would come back here.

The inside of the house is almost unrecognisable. The hall is empty, all the furniture has been removed and the carpets have been pulled up. Even the runner rug that led through to the kitchen has been taken away. I move my head to see into the kitchen. It's the same; empty. The cupboards and the sink are there, but devoid of any objects. No toaster or kettle on the side. No plate rack or washing up utensils beside the sink. The kitchen table is gone too.

I step towards the front room. The room I would always purposefully avoid. My heels click on the floorboards. I pause in front of the door, before I reach and gingerly push it open with my fingertips.

Ricky stands in the middle of the room, facing the windows, but staring into space, unseeingly. He wears tailored trousers, black oxford shoes and a mint green shirt that I recognise as one of his stage shirts. It seems odd that he would be wearing it now, but it's certainly an improvement on how I saw him dressed the last time we met.

He holds the usual whisky tumbler glass loosely in his hand, rested against his thigh. I cast my eyes around the room but I can't see the bottle anywhere. The two sofas are still here, covered with dust sheets but the carpet has been taken out of here too. This room, like the hall, only has exposed floorboards now. In the far corner beside the window, is a pile of cardboard boxes.

'Ricky?' I say, timidly and inwardly scold myself for it. I won't be cowed by this man anymore. He has no hold over me anymore.

'Hello, baby,' he says, and then turns around to face me. 'I didn't think you were going to come.'

'I can't stay long.'

Ricky nods slowly. 'Of course.'

He suddenly seems to notice the glass in his hand and looks at it as if he doesn't recognise it. He sniffs it, but then he stoops and sets it on the floor without taking a drink.

'I got your letter,' I prompt, when it doesn't appear he plans on saying anything else. 'What do you want?'

He straightens up and blinks at me a couple of times before he opens his mouth again. 'I'm going back to the States,' he says. 'Everything has been put into storage. This is the last of it.' His hand sweeps the room. 'You can have it all if you want.'

He fixes me with his dark green eyes. I shift my weight nervously, but looking at him now, he seems different. The rage and the ire that I'd gotten so used to seeing in his eyes is oddly absent.

'I doubt I shall have it shipped back home, so you can take whatever you want. I will leave you the details. There's all your... clothes and shoes and things.'

'Okay. Thank you,' I say, although I knew I wouldn't want any of it. I wouldn't even go to look at it.

'Sit down,' Ricky says.

I shake my head.

'Please?' he says, gently.

Deciding that the quickest way to get out of here will be to hear what he's got to say, I sigh shortly and step over to sit on the covered sofa. Ricky remains standing. He puts his hands into his trousers pockets and paces the floor the length of the fireplace hearth, head bowed, staring at his feet.

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