She opened the wardrobe exactly six weeks after he’d disappeared. Choked by the lines of jackets and neatly folded trousers, she slammed it shut again; waited another month – still hoping – before she tried again. This time she managed to keep her breath steady, and her eyes clear. She sat with her spine curved against the back of the wardrobe, her knees held to her chest, and thought about the soil trapped beneath his fingernails.
Months and months later, when the poppies he’d planted by the shed had finally opened their red hearts, she took the jackets and the neatly folded trousers out of the wardrobe, shrugged them off their coathangers and packed them into sweet-smelling plastic. Horrified, then, by the sight of so many fat black bags – like the slugs he’d waged wars against – she emptied them onto the floor in a tumble of cotton and dust. She returned each item of clothing to its rightful place. I’m sorry, she whispered under her breath, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
The soft brown jacket, with the loose weave and the frayed lining, was too big for her. She found something comforting in the cool excess of material, the way she could wrap it tightly across her bones like a blanket.
That evening she sat at the kitchen table, listening to the honeysuckle tap its fingers on the windowpane. She dug her hands deep into his jacket pockets, and found, nestled along the seam, a line of tight, black seeds.
Inspired by Frances’ reply in Get Involved on July 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm