He entered the room, the surfaces trying to hide under a coat of dust slowly coming to life. Stone counters remained as cold and dark as he had left them. The wooded floor creaked at the same spots as it did the day he left. It had been almost three years to the day on that summer afternoon. The rain covered the city, slowly clouding the view from the glass wall, which commanded the attention of the apartment.
‘Home,’ he murmured as he left the luggage and the keys at the entrance. Avoidance has a distinctive smell, and the place reeked of it. The bed maintained the creases from the last time he made it. Little could escape the walls, certainly not loneliness, and even the memories remained. His eyes shut, looking at the concrete ceiling, focused on the spot where he ran paint past the wall.
The city lights welcome him back into the room, new creases imprinted on the bed. The steam above the shower curtain allowing the temperature rise enough for him to undress. It was all clinical, he never changed the fluorescent light bulb that gave the room its distinct hospital feel.
The warmth of the water poured first on his back and then his hair, slowly running new rivers through his face and down to his waist. He looked at the bottles caked on the outside with the remnants of his last shower. The clothes on the closet remained partly organized, and the light switch worked to reveal an Edison bulb at the top. He smiled faintly at the yellow glow of the light, then recalled the struggle to build a modular closet sitting proudly at the edge, the color grey. He pulled the pants over his legs, feeling the friction of the fabric against his skin, wishing for human touch.
The desk awaited with the leather chair still tucked underneath the wooden top. There was so much to tell and so little inspiration to begin the story. He sat looking at the blank reflection and the blinking cursor, feeling emptier than the canvas. The softcover of the leather reminded him of a caress, and he intended to experience every bit of it on his forearm. He began relaxing his back on the chair, letting the weight transfer to this avatar, a paltry replacement for human touch. Still, the chair was the foundation of so many stories written from that desk.
He began dancing his fingers over the keys, producing black ink. It was magic. At least it always felt like magic to him. Pouring a few thoughts on the page felt relieving, enough for him to inhabit the room. He was home.