The day I moved out of the little apartment on Canal Street was relentlessly dreary. The grey sky had the consistency of a murky pond, and although it was stubbornly overcast, the heat and humidity were oppressive.
Connor and I worked in silence, out worn-out t-shirts clinging to our overheated bodies. It rained at one point, weakly, a fine, cold mist that just barely puddled on the ground. We worked right through it, letting the condensation hold where it would.
Alissa was nowhere to be seen, but she’d relocated most of her possessions into her room and closed the door. Without her cheerful, personal touches, the apartment seemed alien and unfamiliar.
If there was anything of mine missing, I didn’t notice or care. I was desperately tired, fueled only by a weak cup of coffee and a grim determination to finish the job in one day. Connor seemed to sense my uneasy temperament and worked without complaint, pausing only to grab us some sandwiches from the deli down the street.
As I packed, I realized how much of Alissa and my things had become intertwined over the years. The silverware drawer was still full – all mine – but the plates were gone. The kitchen table was mine, but her chairs had been pulled to the side. She’d even gone so far as to pull down her beloved Ansel Adams prints from the walls and leave the hangers I’d bought for them hanging.
I left a lot of the bigger items behind. The table, my worn out recliner, the crock pot with the bottom melted from when Alissa accidentally put it on a hot oven burner. Connor whisked away what few boxes I managed to pack into the truck he’d borrowed from his friend. We were done by late afternoon.
I left a check for the month’s rent on the table and put my key next to it. I took about leaving a note, but decided against it. There was too much to say.
“This isn’t your fault,” Connor said quietly as I ducked into my now empty room for the last time.
“It’s not not my fault,” I shot back. He looked wounded.
“I’m sorry,” I amended quickly, reaching for his hand. “I don’t mean to lash out at you. I’m just sad. It’s the end of an era.”
“I know,” he said, stroking my knuckles lightly with his thumb. “She’ll come around. Don’t worry. She’ll be standing next to you at the altar on our wedding day, holding your bouquet,” Connor added, although we both knew that it probably wasn’t true. I closed my eyes and sighed.
“I hope you’re right, Mr. Kline.”
“I do too, Mrs. Kline,” he murmured, pulling me in for a hug, “I do too.”