It’s a way I pass my time now. I count. Every number equals one more second I’m not falling apart after everything that’s happened. Every number ties in with every tick of the clock.
I sigh and stand up. My shoulders are slumped in defeat as I shuffle over to the mantelpiece and carefully lift up Sherlock’s old skull. Underneath, sealed and unopened, is his secret stash of cigarettes. I hated those things, but now I can’t help holding them to my chest for just a few moments.
“You selfish bastard,” I whisper. “What the hell have you done?”
With a sigh, I replace the cigarettes and move the skull back in to place, facing away so it’s not staring at me when I sit back down.
The armchair is cold and uncomfortable, pressing in to my back where I used to be able to sink in to it. The fire is unlit, and even if I’d had the energy to ignite it, I wouldn’t have wanted it burning. There’s still that yellow smiley-face spray-painted on to the wall, with several bullet holes puncturing the paper around it.
Everything here is Sherlock. From the excessive amounts of paper to the head in the fridge, or the used microscope slides left lying on the kitchen table, it’s all Sherlock. When people die, their family and friends say they can feel their presence with them long after they’re gone. I wish it were like that with Sherlock. All I can feel is the ever-present hole in my heart that screams ‘he’s gone’.
And then…then there’s the violin.
I was at such a loss as to what to do with that violin. It’s old and battered, far beyond any hope of selling it. Not that I could bring myself to stick it on eBay, anyway. It’s old and battered, but it’s Sherlock. Just like every single other thing in the apartment, it’s Sherlock.
I can feel the hot tears spring to my eyes as I think about him. With his cheekbones, and his curly hair, and that ridiculous coat that nobody else could wear without looking like a total idiot. The way he’d smirk in even the most dire situations, with that sparkle in his eye that hinted he knew something everyone else didn’t. And that was always the case, until Moriarty found his weakness. God only knows what that weakness was, but it was found.
I pinch the bridge of my nose and squeeze my eyes tight shut to keep the tears in. There’s no way I can sit here and wallow in my own pity. But to be honest, there’s nothing else I can do. I’ve tried updating the blog countless times, but all that comes out of me is one word. It’s not rocket science trying to guess what that word is.
Sighing, I stand up and go to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. There’s scarcely any food in the apartment since Mrs Hudson’s last shopping trip on Wednesday, so I’m left using semi-skimmed milk, which I happen to hate. It tastes weak and watery in my mouth. But I can’t complain. Mrs Hudson is grieving too, she’s just not going to pieces like me.
I pull open the fridge and examine the contents. There’s something I want, but I don’t know what it is. I’m pretty sure I could eat through every single item of food in that fridge and still not feel satisfied.
After pulling out a carton of milk, I close the door.
And I almost drop the milk.
I have to brace myself against the worktop and rub my eyes repeatedly before I’m sure I was hallucinating. Because I had been sure I’d seen someone standing in the living room, facing the mantelpiece. Someone tall, in a dark suit…
No. Sherlock isn’t alive. He’s not coming back. I’m getting over him. I’m moving on. I’m making tea. I’m finding a mug.
The cupboard where we – I – keep the china is almost as barren as the fridge, since I always feel motivated to drink tea but never feel motivated to do the washing up. Shame, that. Apart from that minor infraction, the apartment was looking the same as it was before…
After making my cup of tea, I carry it back to the living room with my head down. I’m wearing a cable-knit jumper and jeans, and I haven’t yet bothered to take my shoes off from when I went to visit Sherlock’s grave this morning.
Something I’m very glad for, when the mug of tea slips from my shaking hands and crashes to the floor. Thank God for the shoes. I’ve just been saved from some serious burns.
I mutter something incoherent and kneel down to pick up the shards of broken china. A particularly sharp pieces slashes a cut along my palm, and I wince.
“That looked painful,” someone murmurs. I freeze. The china forgotten, my eyes dart up. And I’m sure my heart stops, at least for a second.
There, lying stretched out on the sofa with three nicotine patches stuck to his arm, eyes closed and hands pressed in a prayer-like position in front of his face, is my best friend. There, calm as you like, is Sherlock.
“John.” He nods to me in acknowledgement.
Stunned, I stand up and go to sink in to the armchair opposite the sofa. Suddenly, it’s lost all its uncomfortable traits. It’s a haven all over again. There’s no question why. “Sherlock,” I say, just as evenly.
We sit – or lie, in Sherlock’s case – in silence for a few agonizingly slow minutes. Then, when I can’t take it any more, I explode.
“WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?” I bellow, picking up the closest thing to hand – a leather bound book – and throwing it with precise aim at Sherlock’s head.