3rd Place Prose: Seven Years

Jacqueline Ramirez, Author

Tick, tock.

A single droplet falls from the white window still. One single dry branch falls off a tree; eggs in a nest crash upon landing on the white snow, red goo painting it. The grey clouds were lifeless. Oliver invites the crisp air into his silent apartment. He holds his hands out the window, catching snowflakes before they melt away. A gust of wind sweeps in, Oliver’s white shirt and grey sweatpants flutter with bare feet turning red. 

But, Oliver feels numb. 

His purple hair was slowly losing its color, matching the empty hole punctured in his stomach. Shivers run all over his frail body. But, he refuses to move from the window. 

Oliver stares at the buzzing traffic below and hears the dainty bell chimes from his neighbor’s door. He yearns for his to ring. 

Tick, tock.

The apartment is dim, a pile of bills and mail stacked up beside him as a taunting reminder. Not like he cares. His heart thumps with despair while his head throbs in pain.  

He stumbles up, wrapping plastic bags containing his overflowing amount of garbage. After, Oliver throws it into the large garbage containers just outside his apartment. Oliver returns to criss-crossing on his wooden floor, examining the bland streets by the window.  

A knock presents itself at the front door, but he does not open it. The knock was too harsh, it was only one knock instead of a consecutive three. It was not his fiance’s knock.

Tick, tock. 

It has been seven years. Seven years without kisses. Seven years without hugs. Seven years without having sweet-nothings into his ears. 

Tick, tock.

“‘It will get better.’ What a bunch of lies!” Oliver thinks.

Not when his fiance has been missing for seven years. Not when the police have named it a cold case. Not when he could be lying in a ditch, decaying from an endless stream of bugs.

Tick, tock. 

Oliver shuts his eyes, attempting to recall his image. His timid smile. Tidy midnight hair. A worn trench coat. Amber eyes that sparkle like stars.   

Maybe Scott is out there… Oliver has waited for years, and he would wait for an eternity. Oliver will foolishly grip onto the weak red string of hope.  

“Heh. Where are you, Scott Sanchez? My beloved fiance.” Oliver sighs. 

He spies a red bird approaching the crushed eggs, most likely the mother. She pecks at her deceased children before ‘protecting’ them from the cold; nothing more than a false fantasy. How amusing. How tragic. How cold. 

Oh well, Oliver was used to cold.