After is such a long avenue. It is a party long ended; the room in chaos, full of dirty dishes and unarranged chairs. It is taking your hands from lemon dishwater and half-hearted handshakes and slipping them into your pockets. It is walking home in new heels and then walking flat on the cold kitchen floor.
After is nothing like abandonment. After is an empty vase in want of flowers. After is when the music has stopped playing and the silence hangs like a soft, heavy blanket. After is seeing a star fall, leaving blackness in its place.
I walked into the shadow of after, prepared for it like rain on a cold, autumn night. I folded my heart gently away as a sweater grown too tight. And then after came, like a small child, waking me in the dark.