The girl started crying as she passed the open coffin. Her father, holding back tears, put his arm around her shoulder and somberly ushered her away. They stood together for the rest of the afternoon, quietly accepting the half-hearted "I'm sorry"s and "Just call if you need anything"s. After the reception, when the store-bought crappy cookies and lemonade were all gone, they then cleaned up and started walking home. When she got to her room she removed the black woolen tights her mother gave her and pulled out her script that she wrote for the eulogy. The ink started to run as she spilt her tears onto the crumpled piece of lined paper. Her father sat on his empty bed, fiddling with his wedding ring and cursing her name under his breath. "Oh god, Jenny, come back damnit!"
The girl sat in her chair, holding her book as if she were reading it. Her eyes rested just above the top of the page as she stared at the wall. She breathed and felt the emptiness in her stomach. It hurt when she moved, but she knew that they had more handouts than the fridge could accommodate, so she got up and shuffled into the kitchen. She sat at the table, silently nothing the hush that had entered the house. The only noise she could hear was herself eating cold spaghetti. She would have heated it up but she didn't know how to work the microwave. Her mother would always be the one to heat things up for her. Thinking of her mother made the pit in her stomach get bigger, so she ate a little bit faster.
Her father slowly undressed, he needed to do something with his body or else he would collapse. He strode towards the bathroom and stared at himself in the mirror, seeing his wife next to him. He turned the knobs on the shower and turned back to the mirror as the water warmed up. His eyes fell and landed on her side of the counter. His fingers traced the double c's on her Chanel #9, never to be used again. He kissed the worn spot on the bottle where she had pushed the spritzer so many times. As steam rose behind him, he sat down in the chair she used to read in, every night. He sat in the bedroom, in her chair, forgetting that he was naked and forgetting that steam was pouring out of the bathroom door. He just sat there, letting numbness wash over him and he slowly became angry. Not at his wife, she was much too perfect to be angry with, but at himself for not saving her. Isn't that his job? Wasn't he supposed to be her protector? Her savior? Wasn't protecting her and caring for her in their god-damned wedding vows?
The girl pulled on her robe, feeling the cheap fibers cling to her unmoisturized arms. She held the hot cocoa close, praying that it tasted the way she wanted it to, the way her mother used to make it. Her mother always said that the reason it tasted so good was because she made it with love. The girl wondered if you can make something with love if you have no more love left in your body? She took a sip and it tasted like crap. She threw the mug at the wall, screaming as she did so. She then stood and silently observed as the marshmallows stayed on the wall for a moment, then slowly began sliding down. She had nothing more to do, so she walked to her room with no intention of cleaning up.
Her father heard a smash and a scream, which pulled him from oblivion. He grabbed a towel and sprinted to the kitchen to find a broken mug on the floor surrounded by still-steaming hot chocolate and marshmallows. He slowly bent down, careful not to cut himself on any stray shards of glass, and removed the larger parts of the mug. He got the mop and, back and forth, back and forth, cleaned the linoleum until it sparkled. He could feel the Pine Sol burning his nose, he never knew how much was too much.
The girl cried when they started to pack up her mother's things. Her father cried when her clothes were put in to storage. The girl threw a tantrum when her father suggested a new family portrait for the mantle. The two of them slowly pulled together the mangled pieces of their shattered lives and, for the first time in a long time, the pit in the girl's stomach started to get a little bit smaller.