After all the kind and cruel words, after the realization that I could never live by his rules, after the anger and the wrenching relief of being free, I remember this:
When he moved into his house, he bought two nightstands, one for each side of a bed
made for two. We christened that bed, but I wouldn’t spend the night.
The next time I came over, one of the nightstands was gone.
“I only needed one,” he said. I couldn’t tell if the twist in his voice was real, or just an
echo of the twist inside my gut.
Sometimes I see furniture abandoned on the street: scratched end tables, chairs with
broken legs. More rarely, something shiny, the smell of new leather, hardly used. My mind flashes to him.
His absence is a missing piece of furniture, in a room inside of me.
Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, she now considers Los Angeles her true home.