Crossword Puzzles

I still remember the first night I stayed over as if it were a vivid dream. And every time I think about it, my nose scrunches up in a cheesy scowl because somehow I can still taste your breakfast as if I were eating it. I wonder if you can taste mine when you think about that morning.  Do you think about it at all?

That Saturday the sun was gentle on us as we sat on your porch and I was still dressed in your shirt from last night even though it was well past noon. Your burnt toast and ice cream lay in front of us as you tried to get me to eat it before the ice cream melted. I giggled and winced because to me that looked like diabetes on a plate, so instead, I pushed my mug of dark black coffee towards you and challenged you to it. My giggles burst into laughter as you looked mortified and said that my drink was Lucifer in a mug. But you sipped it anyway because I was doing the same.

But our bed is too big now and your side is way too cold, even with the thickest blanket. I guess all it needs is your warmth. So I make my way to your old beat up Mustang that I haven’t driven since you left and played your favourite playlist. The one you played every Saturday. And as your songs played through the broken stereo, I bring out an old abandoned game of crosswords just like we always did. And just like every other time I sat down to solve it, I found myself turning to look at you on the passenger’s seat, but you’re never there. I guess old habits die hard. I vaguely remember discussing the puzzle with you, but I guess we discarded it because you couldn’t keep your hands to yourself.

I start the crossword with cufflinks and Serge Lutens which is ironic because I always gave you a pair of cufflinks on your birthday and you always brought me a bottle of Serge Lutens on mine. I guess we were both sticklers for fetishes that didn’t belong to us. I finished the page with gloves and hemlock. At this point, I was convinced that ‘Fate’ was mocking me because you died with Hemlock in your veins and traces of your struggle on my gloves. I guess crossword puzzles were made for you.

-Alifia Pardawala

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