Sincerely, Vintage (Part 8)𝕝𝕪𝕟𝕘𝕓𝕒𝕜𝕣𝟠𝟚
About a week had passed since the monster attack. Like most afternoons, Tracey had chosen another one of her apartment walls to paint. Hrida kept her company, curled up in one corner of the couch while she mended the rips in Tracey’s hoodie with neat stitches. The two of them worked in comfortable silence. The sound of hissing paint and Hrida’s humming provided a soft soundtrack for the afternoon. When she'd finished with the hoodie, Hrida got up from the couch and stretched her arms overhead. She stood there for a moment, hands on her hips.
“Y’know what your place needs?”
“What?” Tracey didn’t look away from her painting. She knew what was coming.
“A good cleaning.” Hrida pulled her hair back into a messy bun, grinning with too much enthusiasm. Tracey rolled her eyes, but she enjoyed hearing her friend flitting around the apartment behind her, singing to herself as she worked. They had been friends for long enough that Hrida knew where everything needed to go. Tracey smiled a little when she thought about how her mom used to try cleaning up after her; things would go missing because she didn’t understand Tracey’s organized chaos. Even though her room had usually been a mess, she still knew where to find everything.
That feels like forever ago.
“Hey, Trace!” Hrida’s voice floated down the hallway before she appeared, a jumble of items in her arms. “Where should I put all this?”
“Just pick a shelf in the closet.” Tracey threw the answer over her shoulder, more focused on her painting than the conversation. After a moment, she took a step back to study her work. Looking at it sent a beam of sunlight pouring through her chest. She lived for that feeling: the unique thrill of the idea in her head and the paint on the walls matching up.
“Finished!” She left the paint can she’d been holding with the countless others lined up against the wall and wandered to the hall closet. Hrida turned around when she heard her friend’s voice, a box in her hands. The sight of it sent Tracey’s heart plummeting into her stomach. It was only a cardboard box, barely held together with duct tape, but she’d never wanted to see it again. Hrida looked like she wished she hadn't taken it off the shelf.
Tracey took a deep, steadying breath, closing her eyes. She didn’t like this subject, but someone might as well know.
After she and Vince broke up, she’d moved on unusually fast. She figured there was no point crying over it, so she put on a happy face and acted like nothing was wrong. If she pretended to be okay for long enough, eventually, she would be.
According to the feeling in her stomach, she’d been lying to herself.
“All of our stuff.” Tracey scuffed her foot at the raised corner of a floorboard, avoiding Hrida's eyes. “After… y’know… I threw it all in a box. I thought that would help.” She let out a bitter laugh. “I guess I was wrong.”
“Oh. We don’t have to-” Hrida turned around, putting the box back where she’d found it, but Tracey put a hand on her arm, stopping her.
“No, it’s okay. It would’ve come up eventually.” She gently stepped past her friend to take the box down again. They moved to the living room and sat cross-legged on the floor, the box between them. Tracey’s heart twisted in her chest, frantically trying to run away from what she was about to do, but she took her knife from her pocket anyway, slitting the duct tape on top of the box in one quick motion.
As soon as she opened the lid, she wanted to rush the box and its contents back to the closet and close the door. No. She steeled herself against the pain starting to throb in her chest. I’ve come this far.
Without a word, she began taking everything out until the bits and pieces of their relationship, the ticket stubs and the dried flowers and the trinkets, were laid out on the floor around them, like evidence of a crime scene. Hrida reached across and rested her hand on Tracey’s knee, offering her a smile of support. Tracey tried to smile back, but it fizzled out before it reached her eyes. She picked up the first thing within reach and began.
Author Notes: sorry for taking so long with this one, life got in the way. enjoy :)
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