Slippery greasy pizza folds up on itself inside the little plastic container. Stuffed between a container of PBJ balls and chunky orange-brown chili. The container tower topples when Tay opens the fridge. “He didn’t even clean out the fridge?” She kicks the runaway containers across the floor and the contents leak out. “Damn it.”

She grabs a roll of paper towels and mops up the food. Turning back to the crammed fridge she drags the trashcan across the kitchen and dumps the food, containers and all, into it. As she stares into the empty fridge, it hits her. In the heart and in the gut like these things tend to do.

She just needs a shower. Slamming the fridge she strips off the clothes that smell like him and drop them into the trash as well. The quiet pitter patter of her bare feet echoes throughout the little house. So she sings one of those songs about girl power that he hated.

The steam from the shower rises with her voice until she’s practically screaming. As she lathers body wash across her back, she can almost feel his hands. Her voice cracks. She shuts off the water and wraps in a towel. She just needs sleep.

Stepping out into the bedroom, the queen-size bed stares her down. She takes a running leap and sprawls out onto it. She tells the yawning gap in her chest to shove it. “I don’t have to share. The blankets are all mine.” She’ll get a dog tomorrow. He never let her get a dog.

Her eyes wander over to her dresser. He stares back at her from the pictures. He’s in every one. Why did they take so many damn pictures? Waltzing over to the dresser she lays them all face down. “I don’t need your permission to get a dog. Or do anything. It’s my house now.”

She turns back to the bed, but she isn’t tired. She just needs a girl’s night. Picking up her cellphone she scrolls through her contacts. But everyone is either busy or his friend. Plus it’s already 11 PM. Heart sinking she slinks back into the kitchen, grabs a carton of ice cream from the freezer, and plops onto the couch.

Cradling the ice cream and watching a dumb romance, her body sags into the couch. The ghost of his arms around her and his lips on her skin seeps into her bones. An unbearable ache that the ice cream can’t numb.

Yay, she got to keep the house. The house filled with their memories. Like cigarettes his scent lingers. So why would she even want it?


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