heartbreak and wrecking balls
Ashley Daigneault
51

She’d left only a few minutes before

This is a stitch of heartbreak and wrecking balls, an unbound story. Write the story with us.

She’d left only a few minutes before the three-and-a-half-beer idea came fully into view. There was no bed, but on the third floor in the electrical supply closet there was a full mattress, still in a plastic bag from who knows when. There were a stack of weathered and twisted 2 by 4s on the rooftop, leaning off the back, full of nails. For a headboard there was her broken mirror.

He had to have done that, the spiral fracture of punishing a dresser mirror for the pain and curt honesty of the very end of a relationship. But with the glass removed, and a swath of sky blue paint, it was a baulistered full bed headboard. There was no matching footboard, so sun greyed slats from the same framing timbers that made the sides and foundation buttressed the rescued mattress.

There were queen sheets on the floor that could be tucked and prodded, a comforter made from a movers quilt, orange around a dark blue base. It took until 2 to finish the cuts and put it all together with drywall screws from a box left in the basement and a few swaps of the rechargeable batteries for his electric drill.

Shelter, a place to sleep, what next?

There was a box of photographs dropped in the closet. Some were obviously shared memories. Her smiling, sun shining on her face caught in a suggestive and knowing hint of an eybrow, her hips canted just that way.

Those were put back in the box, hidden for another time. Others were less memory prone, a spider web focused with a fuzzy background, an old red truck with a river birch growing through the cab next to some stream. Ten of these went to the all night copy store where Dave worked.

“Posters?” Dave asked, but he seemed fine with transferring them with the scanner to the foam core boards for basically nothing. It was 5 AM when they were tastefully placed to hide empty walls or battle damage.

The kitchen took a bit to clear and wipe down. He went to the store and grabbed orange juice, papaya, grapes and a loaf of bread. There was still margarine and half a jar of strawberry jam in the refrigerator. A miserable package of duck sauce was disposed of after wiping down every surface and swapping out the light bulb with one from his own refrigerator.

He looked around, and headed down to his own bed to grab some sleep.

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