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Perfect Love Story (Love 1) Natasha Madison 2022/8/3 13:48:41

“Wow.” I laugh bitterly, grabbing my glass of water that Edith had just filled. “Don’t sugarcoat anything, Nanny.”

“I won’t,” she says. “I’ve been where you are. Actually, it was worse. He left me three kids to raise by myself.”

“Really?” I ask. “At least your husband was your husband.”

“Well, sometimes, I wish he wasn’t. He left me with three beautiful kids and more debt than humanly possible to get out of. But guess what I did?” She smiles and waves at someone who just walked in. “You have nothing to hide from. You didn’t fuck up, that dickhead did.” She looks at Crystal. “I never liked him.”

I roll my eyes. “You lie. You loved Eric. Fuck, everyone liked Eric. I used to get the ‘Where is Eric?’ before you asked how I was.” I finally smile. I think it’s my first smile in a month.

“Honey, he is gone and not coming back. So you have two choices. One, you wallow, which I have to say you’ve been doing quite well, or two, you dust yourself off and live again.”

“I choose three,” Crystal says. “Purge him from your system.”

“She can’t have sex with someone now; she isn’t in the right head space,” Nanny says. “I mean, she would probably cry in the middle of it.”

“Are you two done?” I ask, relieved to find everyone back to normal and no one listening to us. No one is pointing anymore, but I see a couple of people look over, smile sadly, and then turn around and continue their meal or conversation. The meal is long or, at least, it feels long. I ordered soup but pick fries off Crystal’s plate. When Nanny drives us back home, we wave goodbye to her as the walk inside the house feels stale, stiff.

Sitting on the couch, I feel the memories come floating back. “I hate this house,” I say as I grab the remote and turn on the television.

Crystal hangs with me until she has to go to work, and then I sit on the couch all night flipping through the channels. Night turns to morning as my eyes never tire or close, but my mind spins.

I finally get up sometime after dawn to walk upstairs to the bathroom and then make my way to the spare room. I look at the bed and realize it’s not made. The sheets are still in the wash. So I turn around and look at the closed door.

The door I shut a month ago; the door I swore never to open again. I walk toward it slowly, the floor creaking under my soft footsteps. My hand reaches out to grab the handle, feeling the cold metal under my warm hand. Turning the handle, I push the door open slowly, the hinges squeaking when I finally push it all the way open.

The stale air has specks of dust floating in the sunlight streaming in the side windows. The bed sheets lay crumpled from when I first got home on that fateful day. The pictures on the side tables have a light layer of dust on them. I still smell him; it’s faint but it’s still there. I walk in, treading lightly, almost as if I’m the stranger in the house. As if I don’t belong here. As if this isn’t my room.

I walk toward the closet and open it, seeing his dress shirts hanging there, waiting to be worn, but I know they will never see the light of day.

[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======

Taking one out, I bring it to my face, hoping to smell him or feel him, but instead, I smell soap. I place it back then go to his side table, opening the first drawer.

My hand traces the Kindle that sits on top of everything else.

When I spot a flashlight, I take it out and turn the light on. A rubber band from the music festival we went to last month sits in the corner, and another watch he needed a battery for is tossed to the side.

I spot the condoms, right beside everything, and laugh awkwardly. “Well, we know why he didn’t want to have kids right away. Asshole,” I say out loud, hoping he’s here, hoping he can hear me. I slam the drawer closed and march downstairs.

Grabbing a garbage bag from under the sink, I storm back upstairs, this time whipping open the closet door. Yanking his shirts off the hangers, I stuff them in the bag. Some hangers fly to the floor while others just dangle on the rod empty. Empty like this house. After filling up the bag with his clothes from the closet, I walk over to his chest and open the drawers to find his t-shirts all folded perfectly. I pick them up and toss them into the bag. Drawer after drawer till the bag is almost full. I still have a couple of drawers left when I hear the doorbell. Looking over at the clock beside the bed, I see it’s almost ten thirty. I open the door and come face to face with a huge bouquet of red roses in a beautiful crystal vase. “Um, I have a delivery for Hailey,” the man says as he takes in my rumpled attire.