Each sip was a silent threnody, lost in the din.
"This was hers," he said to no one but ghosts, starched collar long undone and revealing blond stubble. Bloodshot eyes screamed out for slumber, but he could only stare at the splash of red silk across his palm, fingers aching to hold it tighter, to feel the skin it once touched. "This was hers..."
He fell to the floor. Only his knees kept his chest from heaving itself apart.
He hadn't spoken in days. E-mails fell by the wayside, clients angry and confused ringing a phone no longer in service, as he hid behind drawn blinds and a faulty light switch. Somewhere, a stack of photographs remained hidden, an unfinished project silenced by folderol and a locked closet door, marked by words he could never say.
Behind his closed eyes were a pair he could never capture, no matter the lens.
I'm sorry, the note had said, each letter etched in shaky breath. Tear stains marked where her life had leaked onto the page, amid caresses rendered sorrowfully in pen strokes.
Somewhere, someone secretly wondered if she was.