The flowers are wilting on the mantelpiece, collecting dust and displaying an occasional cobweb – gesture of a supposed affection, but more likely an affectation, given who and what she has come to.
If faded were a design motif, then the room is well decorated from top to bottom, including its inhabitant. Unwisely, the blinds have been allowed to stand open from the night just past, as morning sun does nothing any favours.
Left more naked then if x-rayed, pity would surely war with disgust if there were any around to observe the cruel play of warm light in a place it has no business. A lamp, made superfluous, sits on a bedside table, dripping with shawls camouflaging light for a measure of deceitful concealment.
In the depression on the mattress, formed by repeated pounding and abuse, tired buttocks are cradled familiarly; this is their home and resting place, where they belong. Elbows, hands, the flat of a heel, long ago staked out individual claims to space where they could shelter during and after.
Use and age have been as hard on the bed as they have on its occupant down the years, as appetites grew more rapacious, less of her was left behind at the end of the night. Never satiated, demands compounding, night in and night out, in and out, on and on, here in this room, on this bed.
Mumbled phrases that pass for appreciations have changed on occasion, but remain nothing more than excuses and justifications, and nothing of love. How long will she be here at the top of the stairs, at the end of the path in the carpet at their beck and call?
Would they change if they saw her exposed in the light instead of being blind in the night? How can they not feel her wasting away under them each night, as they take what they want and leave nothing behind?
Soon their night will have to turn to day. They’ll come to her door and she won’t answer their knock. They’ll beg and they’ll weep, moan and complain, but she can’t fill their needs anymore, now that they’ve killed her.
You’ll think it’s their mother, the way they’ll carry on, someone they cared for, they loved and admired, and not just some tired out old whore at the top of the stairs.