Chuck walked into the house, and knew immediately he was gone. Just like that, two years of air went rushing out of her lungs. It moved through the house and touched every piece that ever knew him, and illuminated it. And she knew she had to get out. She couldn’t stay there.
She went up to the bedroom, gripping the curve of the banister in case she slipped, as she was known to do. She pulled down her clothes from the closet in a big armful, tossing them on the floor, steadily avoiding the perfectly made bed.
How many days had he grumbled at her inability to simply make the bed? Was this his resignation to who she is, or was it a final parting shot?
She started moving faster now, panicking. She flew down the stairs and found her suitcase in the back of the hall closet, and lugged it back up. Her hair was flying out of it’s bun now, and she was moving so quickly her mind couldn’t quite keep up. Clothes and a pair of running shoes were tossed in without the bother of folding. Her toothbrush, a razor, a comb, and she slammed the lid closed.
She found her passport in the filing cabinet he insisted they buy, for papers and all those little important things she is always losing.
They lugged it up the stairs together, pushed it into a corner, and flopped onto the messy bed- it didn’t seem to bother him just yet. It was mid August and he still thought the moon shone out of her mouth.
I hate it, she whined. It’s horrid, it’s ugly, I’m hot, I’m tired.
The next day she had come home to find that he had put down a tarp, and arranged an array of paint cans, delicious and moist with colour. They spent all evening painting that thing, a soft white with curling designs in gold and rich dark blues. They had fallen asleep with finger-paintings on their bodies, the bed ignored, bunched up painting shirts used as pillows, skin against messy skin to keep warm. Whenever he had brought her home flowers from then on, he would place them there.