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NORA

SHORT FICTION

     He wanted to start off by saying this is not what he wanted for himself. He sits on his couch and wonders when it became him versus himself and then he remembers it’s always been that way.  Her hair was long and more than he was used to.  She didn’t eat because of how much she hated dishes in the sink. She tried prewrapped meals, but that only translated into a mound of plastic, heaping up and over the trashcan rim. Her sink was child-sized in a way that was consistent with the rest of the apartment. In the corner she had a small shelving of books—publications on dogs and Buddha and a few solid classics that surprised him. In her bedroom was a box fan, facing a wall, circulating the strange smell of the apartment.  He saw a blood stain in the center of her bare mattress and wondered why she hadn’t tried to cover it up, knowing he was coming over.  Her dog, she said, was a blue healer, but he didn’t believe her.

    The next morning, when she went off to work, he stayed and he cleaned. He did the dishes in her tiny sink and he swept and polished her hardwood floors. He noticed everything on the shelf was positioned with the label hiding toward the wall and he wandered what that meant. He noticed a glass pipe by the incense holder, clothes in unusual places and bills from her therapist, sitting out in the open. He wondered what this meant.  When she was at work, he was home alone with her dog. The dog watched him straighten, open books that were not his, and make the bed in which they slept in. He could feel the dog’s eyes watching him, judging him for his sins. Or maybe the dog was just hungry. Everything in her little kitchen was cruelty-free, vegan, non-gmo. There was no real food for him. Only Cliff bars and vitamins and gluten-free bread and trendy shit she paid too much for.

    When he left, he thought he might not ever see her again, but he did. He brought her things, a record player, a bag of coffee, miscellaneous items he thought she might like. He walked up to her second floor apartment and he left them... sitting them outside of her door, and then he moved on with his day.  He’s telling me to tell you that he never really liked her that much and that he could see all the ways in which it would never work out. All the potential problems that would inevitably arise. How the things he found enticing about her would turn around with time and become the things he can’t stand. He says he knows what he wants. Says he knows what he’s doing, but I don’t don’t believe him.