I rifled through the cabinets, rooting out the offending pictures, the visual assaults on my wellbeing. They would all go. Not one print would be spared, not as long as they fostered such hurt.

It was with good reason that I tossed them into the trash. Pile upon pile of glossy moments capturing only a lie; one that I had believed. One that he had led me to believe. I felt the cool, hard outline of his favorite lighter in my hand. Irony has always been my forte.

I put the lighter to the prints, watching them flare up in angry erasure. All the memories he had tainted. All the parts of my own mind that I could no longer safely unlock, for fear of unleashing a grievous beast of pain. This parting gesture— immature, vindictive, perhaps— was therapeutic. Justifiable, if equally painful.

The photo on top— us at the beach, ignorant, happy— ignited. It began with a black hole in the space between us and grew to encompass the entirety of the photo’s contents.

Under my watchful eye, time began to burn.

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