A Moment to Breathe

By Jessica Nicole Knop

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I excuse myself to the bathroom before anyone else can hug me.

           It’s not that I mind the hugs, I just hate all the useless condolences that come with them. Thanks, but I don’t need you to tell me you’re sorry for my loss, or that he was a good man. I’m aware of both. I know everyone is just trying to comfort me, but here’s a newsflash: I don’t feel comforted. I feel angry and frustrated, and I swear to God if one more fucking person tells me that my husband loved me, I will scream. I’m aware that he loved me, you idiot. You’re not being helpful.

           I look around our bathroom, with its fresh coat of mint green paint, and I laugh. You fought me for three months about this goddamn color, but in the end, we compromised. I got the mint green bathroom, you got a beer tap in the new basement.

           I rest back against the vanity, taking in the scope of the renovations: new paint, new shower, new vanity. New renovations for a new life together.

           A tear rolls down my face, its gravity dragging me to the tile floor. Another tear. Then another. Through blurry eyes, I stare at where the floor meets the wall, and I realize something for the very first time:

           You were a shitty painter.

Jessica Nicole Knop is a current degree candidate at The Mountainview Low Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction.