The Death and the Cradle

She stood in the closet. Leaning in, she nestled her face among the dress shirts, the flannel shirts, the blazers. She breathed in deeply, comforted by the smell, a mix of detergent and cologne. It was, for her, almost like being with her husband.

She lifted her arms and wrapped them around the clothing, letting the hangers take on her weight. Her knees gradually lowered to the ground, and her body slid from the rack.

Denise curled on the floor next to a rack of shiny leather shoes. With a sob, she rubbed her swollen belly.

Her black dress clung to her clammy skin, and she reached up to pull one of the flannel button-downs. She spread it over herself, a soft blanket to warm and console. She closed the closet door, though filmy light filtered in through the wooden slats. And she rocked herself to sleep, burrowed among her sweetheart’s things.

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