I tried taking a shower, scrubbing myself with every bodywash and bar of soap I could find.
I brushed my hair and my teeth, but didn't feel any cleaner. I checked the DVR to see if any new shows had been recorded, but I had already seen everything.
I traced the green and purple pattern with my thumb, realizing that I hadn't spoken to her in years.
The next day I called her, and we talked all night, laughing about memories like dressing up as the Spice Girls for Halloween.
In the silence of that moment, I began to hear the clock ticking. I noticed that a spider had spun a shimmering line from my lamp to the top of my mirror. I remembered that winter how my stuffed animal, Vanilla, had fallen behind my dresser and I hadn't noticed until I caught the repulsive scent of her fur burning against the heater, until it was too late and she was permanently covered in brown spots.
I suddenly felt sympathy for everything in my room that I had buried, never to be seen again.
The innocent piles were growing higher and higher until they were looming monsters before my eyes. I sat with his picture, blocking out the rest of the mess around me.
I was in the middle of a storm, but I sat there and studied him until I had memorized every line in his face.
My shelves overflowed with containers of little odds and ends: hair bands, chapstick, matches, loose mints, coins, earring backings.
I couldn't always see these things, but I knew that they were safe, nestled somewhere on a shelf.