I didn’t expect three years and 3,000 miles to evaporate in an instant. I didn’t expect the air to feel like teeth through blueberries in summer’s first pie or the smell of rain on an afternoon that waffles between should we go to Bathtub Gin and I wish you could climb under these covers and remind me that I’m real. I didn’t expect steak to become an honesty that I didn’t realize I’d left on California Ave, or that trees the colors of the Issaquah High School and longing lining streets would make my heart want to shatter into smaller hearts that I might sprinkle on each corner of this city so that my heart is here with all of you. I didn’t expect leaving to feel like tearing muscle from bone, like pulling one fiber from my body with each step I took. I didn’t expect that a place once filled with you know I can’t live here anymore and why didn’t you come forward to the police sooner could become new again, whole again, warm again. I didn’t expect to feel, so suddenly, like maybe I can, too.

Adrienne Marie Barrios has work forthcoming in superfroot mag, Autofocus Lit, and Sledgehammer Lit. She is editor-in-chief of Reservoir Road Literary Review and edits short stories and award-winning novels. Find her online at adriennemariebarrios.com.