zoom out

She falls to the floor, weeping.

He looks down at her, tears in his own eyes, turns away. He walks around the apartment, taking a few things. A phone charger. A few shirts from the closet. A toothbrush. Some books and DVDs. A mug from the kitchen.

She cries harder.

He goes back to her, tries to hug her. It is awkward. He says something, then puts a key on the counter and walks out.


Zoom out. The neighbours hear her sobs. One rolls his eyes and hopes it doesn’t last too long. Another puts a few cookies on a plate and wraps them in plastic, to leave outside her door.


Zoom out. He pushes past people in the street as he walks, then runs away from the building. He is trying to hold his tears until he gets to his car. He fumbles with the lock, then gets in and yells, making the passersby turn and stare. He thumps his steering wheel. He waits until he is calmer before he drives away.


Zoom out. The city bustles. She calls in sick to work, and her boss warns her that she had better be in tomorrow or risk the consequences. He nearly misses a stop sign, and a mother pushing a stroller yells at him. He takes a deep breath.


Zoom out. She calls her mom, two thousand kilometres away. They weep together, the tiny wire tenuously connecting them. He drives to his college roommate’s house in the next province and asks to sleep on the couch.


Zoom out. There is a tragedy in a faraway country. The news, grasping at the human angle, repeats the story of a young woman who lost her husband and the father of her miscarried child over and over. The woman cries and cries. Both women cry and cry.


Zoom out. The earth from space looks the same as ever. Turquoise, swirled with white. Lit up by constellations of community at night. One tiny pinprick in a sea of stars. And yet, the universe is subtly altered.


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