He was to take only what was his, not theirs. In the quiet house he swaddled in blankets: a framed Lenny Bruce poster; teak decking from an old houseboat; a tin Hatuey beer sign.
He nestled the final bundle into his trunk and entered one last time to survey the half-empty exhibition of his making. Rectangles of seemingly fresh paint appeared to hang on nail holes. A contrast from faded walls streaked dingy by little hands.
Stain was worn from the trim where she used to lean and talk at him through his office doorway.
What remained: her aunt’s strange painting of cats in a gilded frame; oil streaks on canvas evoking tree trunks; family portrait in black and white (two laughing sons, their mother, and his own, younger face).
He locked the door. He pushed his key through the slot as she’d asked, and slid into the night.
MARK MAYNARD is the winner of the 2015 Nevada Writers Hall of Fame Silver Pen Award. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles. His linked short story collection, Grind, was published by Torrey House Press in 2012, and has been selected as the 2016-2017 Nevada Reads book. He is currently the Program Coordinator for Nevada Humanities, focusing on bringing Pulitzer Prize winning authors and journalists to events throughout the state. He lives in Sparks, Nevada.