Carol feels the plastic with the tips of her fingers. The vacuum sealed bag is rigid, still doing its job. She lowers her nose to the seal, desperate for something of what is trapped inside.
Swiping up, she opens her photos, finds the one of the two of them in bed. It is a selfie, post sex, both slightly sweaty, with a hint of the tangled sheet between them. There are other photos, more explicit, yet it is this that she keeps coming back to. She plays David Bowie and lets the tears flow.
Deb has been gone nearly a year. The platitudes people say aren’t true. It hasn't gotten any easier. What makes it worth living another day is the bag.
They are the last clothes she wore before—. Something inside her needed to keep her smell, keep something that reminded her of the life that had once coursed through Deb's body.
Carol pinches the photo, zooming in to reveal the deep blue of Deb's eyes. They radiated happiness and an inevitability that it wouldn't last. Scratched into her iris were deep black canyons, forever announcing the sadness, like a riptide. Carol knew the moment they met Deb would pull her out to sea beyond the depth where she could swim.
Her buoy, in this sea of grief, was the vacuum sealed bag with Deb's smell. One day, when she really needed it, Carol was going to open it and take her final breath.