Grief rubs a red rose against the top pane of the front window during a pleasant time where the day unfurls like a carpet, disappearing under our feet. The sky is lit up Van Gogh blue, the sunlight banging off the crispness of the leaves in the trees. Hard lives make hard people. The roses were from an old friend. Grief takes another one and rubs it against the wall, the red petals disintegrating across the white stucco, falling into pieces. Last week, the same friend sent me a box of hand-dipped chocolates. Grief flushed most of them down the toilet, an overflow of multi-colored nougat. I went out for a coffee meet last week and Grief salted the date’s Double Ristretto Venti Half-Soy Nonfat Decaf Organic Chocolate Brownie Iced Vanilla Double-Shot Gingerbread Frappuccino Extra Hot with Foam Whipped Cream Upside Down Double Blended, One Sweet ‘N Low and One NutraSweet, with Ice.
Also, my mail is missing. My personal email has been deleted or, somehow, undelivered or unreceived. Others blame the sun and its flares but mine, Grief, puts on the blue shorts and an unbuttoned blue shirt I have from his few remaining pieces of clothing, and poses as the mail carrier of sadness.
Late at night, while Grief sleeps in the narrow pantry, I slip in and steal its favorite sugar cookies it hides behind the noodles, and eat them – that thing you savor and think about all day but is now forever gone – letting Grief know about that thing you think is going to be there but is now only an empty and thin cardboard box.
Ron Burch’s fiction has been published in numerous literary journals including South Dakota Review, Fiction International, Mississippi Review, and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His new novel, JDP, comes out in 2021 from BlazeVOX books. He lives in Los Angeles.
Photography by Annie Spratt