When I flick off the lights of day, I allow myself to release, crying and holding onto the tears briefly before letting them go with a squeeze. I always hold you at arm’s length long enough that my arms don’t ache anymore, because they decided to fall off.
It’s in these moments, when everything that’s required of me is done persistently digging into my thighs, that I release this feeling and unravel the bandages, surveying the damage that drips from the cloth. The wound has become impressed into my aching arms, filling with the scent of mold. I slowly cut apart the wet dishrag and unfold the layered blanket of where I hid what was left of you, thinking there had been nothing left.
As I look down, as I do every night while lying in your bed, everything I see sparkles as these shards of chocolate marbles that are embedded into my sleeves that resemble freckles which I keep because they remind me of the colour of your eyes, warm coffee spilling out of the cracks of a broken mug.
Madeleine Simmons is attending the University of California, Riverside, for her B.A. in English. She shares her work within her community and posts snippets and updates on her Instagram page, @madeleineshelle. She hopes to publish her stories while feeding her four cats.