Written for Trifecta. When he walked out that door, he closed it behind him like he was sneaking away f0r another midnight tryst with one of the girls, not realizing I awoke every time he cleared his throat.
I wished he would slam it with the same force he used when we were fighting and the fighting turned to fucking, eyes wild and wrists bound. I wanted to run after him and shout the insults I'd written in my head in as much detail as a sonnet. But he didn't disturb the neighbors with their sleeping babes, so I didn't, either. That's always how it was. I didn't do anything without his permission.
He packed his suitcase, which I'd given to him last Christmas, like he was preparing for another trip to New York City, counting socks and matching outfits. Black and black. Blue and brown. The same colors as the bruises on my arm. His dark eyebrows cinched together, calculating his most prized possessions, like a mother gathering family photos and ancient heirlooms before the fire swallows them whole. Except for he had a lot more time. He had everything in the world, including time. Including me.
Though he took with him only what fit in that single thrift store suitcase, once he'd left, the apartment was hollow. Like my mother's eyes after she'd died. Like the two year old baby down the hall who didn't walk or talk. Like the clouds that hovered but never washed our dirty alleys.
I clawed open the medicine cabinet to find it empty; the pills like marshmallow pebbles and the powders like pixie dust were as gone as my husband. I searched in every crack, every shadow, every pocket for redemption. For secret money, for a water-marked love note, for a sign that my life wasn't over.