She arrived home to find the apartment dark. She’d thought she’d gotten used to it. There’d been a long stretch there where she hadn’t thought much about it, if at all. Maybe work hadn’t been hard enough that day to distract her from the loneliness of her existence, and the sight of her shadowed room hit her square in the heart like a blow from an iron hammer. She sighed and kicked off her shoes, dropping her keys into the little brass dish near the door. She walked into the darkness, weaving around the thicker pools of black where she knew her furniture stood. She padded into the kitchen, light from the outside slanting in through half-closed standing venetian blinds and glancing off various stainless-steel surfaces. She reached the refrigerator and opened the heavy door, spilling a bright puddle of yellow light onto the tiled floor. There was an open bottle of wine lodged into one of the doorway shelves between a plastic squeeze bottle of ketchup and a crumpled carton of orange juice, and she was relieved as it meant she wouldn’t have to deal with a corkscrew and potential disaster in the form of a shredded cork.

She found a glass in the light of the still-open fridge and popped the plastic stopper from the bottle. She stood there in her work clothes in the dim kitchen and drank until she forgot how she’d felt a few minutes earlier when the astounding weight of her empty life had nearly crushed her, and it would be weeks before things slowed down enough to remind her again. But by then she’d have a whole host of new concerns to drink away, her undesired solitude the least of them.

2014.10.08 – 2023.05.31

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