Duct Tape

I let go of my exhausted cigarette and crush the remaining light out under my shoes. They are expensive, both the cigarette and the shoes; the habit is an old one. I have always been good at putting the light out.

“Breakfast?” she asked as I walked into the kitchen that morning. She was tearing uneven brown pieces of duct tape; three muddy almost-squares quivered on her fingertips.

“No.” My voice was distant, but she didn’t notice.

“Here, have an apple.” She set the roll of tape on the counter and threw a shiny red fruit at me with the same hand.

“What are you doing?” I asked, even though I didn’t really care. My words were hollow and tinted with my third cigarette of the morning.

“Oh nothing” she said, walking up to the walls. She held the crumbling wallpaper with one hand, with the other she taped on the brown patches and smoothened out the bumps. I left the apple on the table and walked out.

It’s been over ten years since I have set foot in this house. I walk in, I am not ashamed to say,  full of guilt. The room looks the same. The wallpaper is new, of course, and the cabinets have been painted over, but through it all, I can see the shadows of duct tape that once held this house together.

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