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Burn Mark

We're too Midwestern for this much drama, me and the girl pup, but this is the big one.

Face down on burgundy carpet, I hold on to the floor and come unhinged. The carpet, circa 80-something, is full of lint and the girl pup’s hair which is sticking to my cheeks en masse thanks to a tear/snot adhesive. An old burn mark in the shape of an iron is about a foot away. I turn my head and concentrate on it, trying not to look at the indentations left by our spare bed. At least he moved it into the nicer room for me. Guilt moves.

The room, and much of the house, is now empty except for shadows of things no longer present. A bed. A relationship. A ghost ironer. I know this because I’ve just completed the Heartbreak House Tour, stumbling from room to room, crying harder at every missing item, as if the ugly pot rack is a symbol of love’s labor lost. Not that any of this is a shock. We had agreed on who got what a week ago. It was the coming home to quiet failure that brought me to the ground.

The girl pup arrives and drops a partially gooey raw hide on my head. Her version of snap out of it. She’s right, of course. We’re too Midwestern for this much drama, me and the girl pup, but this is the big one. The real deal hurt. This is the breakup that will eventually require undiscovered strength, patient friends and a therapist to recalibrate my idea of self, adulthood and love. And this is the moment I realize what it’s going to take to find my way back.

I lay there a while longer listening to the clock downstairs, staring at the burn.

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