He washed the dishes slowly with determination before he evicted them from one sink to the next. Soapy bubbles coated raw red skin.

His hands were rough from rubbing them together while watching cable news with one eye trained on the front door. An anxious habit, he clutched his hands together and rubbed them over and over as if a spark might manifest. Cold dry winter air chapped his paws too, but he paid no mind.

Washing dishes gave him time to think. His brutish hands, knuckles as big as walnuts, worked with grace and soaked in the lukewarm grayish water. He handled each mismatched utensil and dish with care as if a baby were being baptized.

She had left him. The house was quiet. All rooms dark save for a sole light in the kitchen that cast an off-white glow over the sinks. Wind howled past naked oak branches and a tire swing just outside the kitchen window.

His mind wandered to the last time they spoke, even further to the final kiss. He didn’t know it at the moment that his lips would never touch hers again. If he had, he might have, no, certainly would have chosen different words. Like a dragon breathing fire, he unleashed accusations and deflected blame with fury and force until there was nothing left.

A Pyrrhic victory. His war of words resulted in loss, permanent and replayed each night. A deep dull ache weighed on his chest.

She sheared contact between them. Removed her belongings from the home. Never returned his calls. Gone. A mass of ice calved from the glacier of their relationship and swept to sea. He felt less than whole.

Hulking over the sink, he slowly rinsed the fork, the knife, the plate, and the glass. He set each one on the drying rack, shut off the light, and leaned into the darkness.

10/21/2018