He stepped into her apartment and turned on the light. A bare bulb flickered to life illuminating a messy bed and walls hidden by posters. “LOVE WINS” in bold rainbow letters, “You are what you do” printed over a touching act of kindness, “We are all stardust” glittered over a nebula.
He swallowed hard, the narrow walls of the loft claustrophobic. Too closed in, too high up. To far from the city below. He dropped the stack of folded boxes onto the floor and absently brushed fibers from his stiff suit. Her landlord had given him a week, six days ago. She’d been behind on the rent. It’d be the curb in morning.
As if there hadn’t been enough waste already.
Through the polished window he could barely see the mangled remains of the bridge, protester’s ribbons twisted around broken rebar. The news hadn’t said a body count yet. How many had ended up as bloody bits of shark food. He glanced at a pro-vegan poster of a hippie holding a hen. What would she think of all this?
He closed the door, revealing a painting on an easel. The city from her window. The buildings grungier, the streets crowded and cluttered with garbage, the light seems to have filthy grit to it.The bridge in the distance was a smoldering wreck.
His keys clattered to the floor and he collapsed onto the squeaking bed. Hands over his face, tears came from tired eyes. Eyes he’d thought had run dry.
With a haggard breath he collected himself and stood. Turning the painting around, looking at the back he hoped to find some date years prior. That it’d been some morbid whimsy. The painting was three days old and called “Making change.” He barely recognized her handwriting.
The painting slipped from his fingers, the frame clanked into his keys and sent them clinking into the folded boxes.
He stared at a poster of Gandhi. At the peace signs, at Love wins. At the babbling brook. At the pictures on her desk, of peace rallies and awareness walks.
He picked up his keys, thread them though his fingers and shredded the painting.