I've recently finished this story. Of course, I'm still going through the editing motions, but I'm almost there :)
Here it goes.
I searched for answers everywhere.
Every scrap of paper with his writing was a potential witness; the grocery list, scribbled telephone numbers, stick match people sketched on coffee napkins, were all pieces of the puzzle.
I knew he was depressed but I imagined his condition temporary, like a bad cold; it slowed you down for some time, weakened you, but it passed. Everything comes to pass.
After they took his body down, I dismantled the bar, threw it out the window, then went downstairs to retrieve it because it was too close, I couldn’t stand having it anywhere near me. I asked my Father to dispose of it all; the pills, the chin up bar, the empty vodka bottle.
I spent the night at my parent’s. Mom rubbed my hair until I fell asleep.
The first day, I didn’t cry. It wasn’t real, I was in a daze. The grief hit me when I came back to our apartment, when I sat down on our couch and saw the tangerine peels on the coffee table; the spindly peels, so nonchalant, moist, vital. They outlasted you, Aaron. Even the dirty dishes in the sink, the cup in which you drank your last coffee, the maple syrup you poured on your bacon that morning. They are left and you are gone. You weak son of a bitch!
I conserved the tangerine skins and placed them under his pillow. The dishes were put in the refrigerator; His worn clothes were taken out the laundry bin, folded and placed back in the drawers.
I put on his shirt, lounged in his pants. I felt closer to him; perhaps, his scent was the only proof Aaron once lived. When the clothes started to lose his smell, I folded them in saran wrap. When my mother saw them, she screamed, begged for me to move on.
‘’God dammit, Kimmy! This isn’t healthy.’’ She said.
‘’I don’t have to explain it to you; you don’t know how it feels! You hated his guts!’’
‘’No, I didn’t. This is crazy. I want you to get help, you should talk to someone qualified…’’
‘’I don’t need help. What I need is for you to mind your own business.’’
‘’Honey, Aaron is dead. Don’t let him do this to you.’’
‘’I know he’s gone. I don’t need you to remind me.’’
His absence was everywhere; in the space between the bed and the radiator, the cracks in the floor’s wooden planes and the crevices in the wall.
The first few weeks, I thought the pain would consume me, that I wouldn’t survive him. But one day, I unwrapped the clothes. I went to the Laundromat, poured the liquid soap on the pants, the boxers, and the shirts.
I didn’t even cry when the water drowned his belongings, spun the garments in circles and washed away the remnants of his smell. I watched, stoic, aware that I had nothing left of his physical self, just a burning memory of what once was, of what could have been.