she exhaled in reflief and hated herself for it.

his leaving was her arrival into the day. the eggshell walls of their brooklyn townhouse suddenly expanded. the air once again became penetrable. now she could actually consider the arduous task of getting out of bed.

when had this ritual begun? she wasn't sure. long enough ago for the hallway mirror to grow a coat of rust where its metal frame rested on the tub's edge [had he even questioned its relocation?]. into it she stared while melting into her morning bath.

not that she knew what she sought in its reflection. it was the seeking itself that seemed necessary. life was at a standstill. every day she prayed for an earthquake, a hurricane. when the words "car accident" floated into her consciousness, she did her best to stuff them back into the dank, dark hole of her mind. no no, that was an inappropriate prayer--neither suited for church nor for thinking about your husband's fate.

she shuddered, released the stopper, and tried not to watch the bathwater drain into oblivion. that would be depressing, after all.

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