First published in Potato Soup Journal)
She is eating apples. Nothing but apples will do. As she paces the house she crunches through their hard skins into the clear crunchy pulp, the sweet-sourness in her mouth.
Not his sourness. She is washing that away.
No apple core is the same. This one thin and twisted. The next an hour-glass. Another in the shape of an umbrella. Sometimes the pips stick in her teeth. She spits them out. He would not allow the spitting out.
She retches, thinking of him.
She leaves one apple core at the side of the bathroom sink, another in the waste-paper basket in her room, a third on top of the wardrobe. Amidst the dust.
She must wipe the dust away. Dust is mostly human skin. She can still feel his skin on hers, dry and scaly; the motes of it whirling in the low light.
There is a blemish on this apple skin like the mole at the top of her thigh. He touched it with his thumb. She hates the mole now. She will scrub at it until it is gone.
She finds a maggot in the fortieth apple – yes she is counting. He said he was celebrating his fortieth. He stank of cider and stale sweat. Of rotting fruit.
The apartment is filling up with apple cores. The weeks have passed but the sickness is still with her.
While she sleeps notes of music fall like dust.
After they have sawed their way through the branches tangling the apartment they find her still sleeping. There is a mole on the top of her right thigh in the shape of an apple.