I see a soft woolen blanket, a baby rattle shaped like a lamb. I see a woman’s plainly painted lips, the curve of her fullness hidden under loose linen clothing. I see a climbing trellis of fake morning glories beside a mountain of neatly folded sweaters: orange, grey, black. I see an attempt at order, a tangible pattern. I see things controlled, things aligned. I see myself in a pentagon-shaped mirror with white glass beads along the edges. For one second, I catch a glimpse of a person who used to live in an ordered world. My beliefs crisply folded on shelves lined with silk: God, love, forever.
I look away.
The lady in the shop says you’re young, you’ll meet someone else, but wait a while, take some time with yourself first.
Time with myself. Time with my own thoughts, my own memories. Memories of his skin. The skin that used to touch my skin. Time to remember how his skin turned cold in my arms. Time to remember feeling his arms as they stiffened. The arms that used to hold me. How they couldn’t bend. Dead arms don’t bend. I never knew that. Time to wander naked through the rooms of my enormous house, rubbing the walls as if maybe he had disappeared into them. Time to flatten my body against the perfectly painted eggshell smoothness, pretend he’s holding me still.
I don’t need time with myself.