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By the end of the week, Aiden mustered up the courage to go into her father’s room. Her hand hovered over the doorknob; hesitant to trespass into his sanctuary. But there were no phone calls, no texts of righteousness or contrition. No pleas for re-admission into her heart. Was he truly gone?

She should be the angsty one, with Charlie-Manson-eyes, storming through the house, gesturing wildly. Screaming about suffocation from fascism. Penning midnight notes with words of hot indignation; railing against hedonistic self-absorption. Slamming doors; flurry of clothes stuffed into duffle bag. Parent as teenage rebel. His flights into the night

She tolerated his bad behaviour; accepted the role reversal. For these leavings, despite randomness and unpredictability added cohesion to their relationship. Part of familial patterns with a hug of familiarly.

Time splintered until his return, seeking absolution with small offerings. Promises made with mantra: “cross my heart and hope to die.”

Unsure of what she would find, she closed her eyes and pushed open his door. He lounged on the bed, his face drained of colour, clutching her mother’s bridal garter in prayer-cupped hands. So still; a disheveled tableau.

Photographs scattered; broken-spined books pulled from shelves. Detritus of candy wrappers and paper cups. Jagged pieces of his life strewn across the floor. The air was sickly-sweet and stifling. Dust moted wakes traced her movements.

Whispering his name, she approached, herky-jerky hand extended. Had he crossed his heart one time too many?

another mlmm mélange: first line Friday: original first line: At the end of the week, Aiden mustered up the courage to go into his father’s room and wordle #268: cohesion; hedonistic; flight; drain; part; flurry; cross; hug; splinter; lounge; garter; not used: plus