She was a leftover sort of beautiful that morning. Her makeup was in dark clouds about her eyes and her hair was straggling down in wisps from a hasty bun. When she rang the doorbell and I opened my door, she was standing still and the sight of her sent a cold shock to my skin. It had just occurred to me that she wasn’t coming back at all.
I stood back and let her pass, and she walked in, just the way she had last week. Everything was piled in the living room, and she stopped short to see the stacks. I stood, silent, trying to notice if there was a perceptible smell of must from the kitchen. She stooped to pick up the biggest box at the bottom, swaying a bit as she stood to keep the two on top of it balanced.
I opened the door again, letting it grind long and squeaky on the hinges as it swung. She hefted the boxes in her arms again, and didn’t look at me. Neither of us spoke, and the quiet crackled.
She struggled with the boxes as she fit herself through the door, clutching the cardboard as it wobbled and tipped, threatening to fall. I didn’t offer to help. I just watched her go.