Role Reversal

Fresher’s week. No peanut butter spattered work top, or wet tights cluttering the radiators. The toothpaste lid remains on the toothpaste tube, lined up in a neat row with our two toothbrushes. There’s a noticeable gap where the third one was. I spread the two brushes further apart. Her room, a discarded hermit’s shell. The photograph on the side shows a little girl in braces holding a pink fishing net. I pull sheets from the bed, her adolescent scent hits me. I close my eyes. I will only allow myself this one moment. The back door slams. He’s mounting the stairs two at a time, running into the room like an excited puppy, waving keys to the campervan he’s just parked on the driveway. His face an explosion of the youth I’d forgotten. I smile back at him and close the bedroom door. The sheets can wait.
Kate Jones
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