The Coat

It was getting cold again — the kind of cold that reminded her of what it had been like when she first arrived, falling in out of nowhere, into the life of someone who was gone now.

Someone who might always be gone.

Someone whose absence made her feel gone, now, too.

She shivered and tugged her gloves more tightly against her palms, then shoved her hands into the coat, hugging it around herself and breathing in the smell.

The coat. It wasn’t her coat. It was his coat, even if it would never be worn by him again.

It wasn’t a winter coat so much as a suitcoat a little too large for her, broader in the shoulders than she was. Black and worn, but repaired with ridiculous patches and frankenstitching. It was old. It was so fucking old, the smell had been gone for so long, but she would bury her face in the collar, the lapel, and breathe memories as tears wet her long lashes.

She would cry into that stupid coat and whisper to it.

She would tell it secrets. She would stroke the inner lining at the collar and wrists, where it had once touched his skin. She wrapped the arms of it around herself when she went to sleep.

She knew it was weird. She knew it was borderline crazy. Maybe it was even well beyond borderline crazy.

It didn’t matter; she had nothing of him, save that coat, so it was what she held on to, while she did anything she could that needed doing, and waited — waited for him, waited to die, waited for what, she didn’t know — staying warm with the thought of him, even as the world got colder.

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