Alternate titles:
A Collection of Real and Fake Stories: All Involving Hand-Holding
Repressed Trauma, but Make It Art
These Characters Aren’t Real, so Stop Guessing
Or Are They? Perhaps Partially

I don’t miss anything about him aside from doing his laundry. On my knees I’d sort his darks and lights, midnight labor, washing and drying his bedsheets from the grimy twin XL mattress, sticky no matter the season. I don’t know why I did it. I hated him most days. Hated his perpetual aloofness, his stupid smirk when I’d dress for church, only because it was church, nothing more, his vocal hatred for the Jesus I grew up loving. Hated his politics, his eyebrows, his way of erasing my presence without effort. Bourbon breath, sh-tty poetry, yellow bruises, and my hands that shouldn’t have kept holding on but still chose to— that’s all of him my mind lets me remember. And the fights, too, but I’ve decided those aren’t fit for poetry. Doing his laundry was the closest I ever got to really loving him. He never noticed. He must’ve seen the neat stacks by his closet and brushed it off as dark magic, I don’t know, but nothing holy. When I did his laundry I didn’t need strong lungs to scream my way through it, an argument to validate my existence, or sharp nails to come out alive. I just washed, dried, and folded, all the while humming I love you, please don’t go, until all the machines fell silent.

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