I spend nights alone, in a hotel room. Sometimes in a cabin in the mountains.
The cabin in the mountains, they’ve done up so that it’s covered in deer prints and wolf prints and bear prints and plaid. Enamel crockery. Indoor hanging vines. Big picture window, so I can stand naked and cry before the world.
In the bathroom, a neat and tidy bar of soap. With lavender, unused. I don’t use it because I do not like the way that square shapes fit inside my hand the angles pressing up against my palms. I replace it with a bar of round soap that I’ve brought from home. Each morning, I neatly hang the towel, but leave the bathmat crumpled in the corner.
No one can find me here, not even God if he was looking to begin with.
In town each afternoon, I have a single beer at the saloon. Warm, I walk the lake and fill my pockets with the stones and wormwood that I find along the shore. I return to the cabin before sunset, because I do not like the way that small towns look and sound at night. I line up my treasures on the hearth, examining each one before the fire.
After a couple of days, the grief becomes almost bearable, but never quite. Just enough that I do not erupt in sudden fits of tears when I hear a song on the radio, or see small children playing. Just enough that I do not erupt when I smell good BBQ, or watch a single flower blooming from a patch of grass.