She was half angel, half angel dust, with eyes like coal mines that could cave in any time. Wore my dirty tee shirts straight off the floor. Wrote i love the fuck out of you in purple lipstick on the cracked bathroom mirror; keyed when it all hurts, nothing hurts on the passenger door of my Corolla as it was being repossessed. She dyed her hair orange to match her lumpy, pop-eyed goldfish Harold Without Irony, who watched us through the bay window of his bowl while the bed shook and the bang, bang, bang of the old oak headboard chipped away the crumbling drywall. I can still hear Johnny Thunders singing “You can’t put your arms round a memory” through blown speakers with buzzy bass and the wobbly ceiling fan making the philodendron in the corner of our bedroom dance a soft, shadowy ballet. But maybe to her I was just decoration, maybe we were just accessories to each other’s crimes. If there had been a single moment of tenderness between us, I would have remembered it. What I am left with though is her favorite Doc Martens, weather-worn and blood-stained, the ones she’d use to crush our empty beer cans, the ones I unlaced for her while she ran her fingers through my hair, the ones she hurled at me the last time I saw her, the ones I’ve kept in a box at the back of my closet all these years. Sometimes I think the Internet was invented so I could spend my free time searching for her late at night—with my wife sleeping in the next room—searching, searching, and eventually settling for an overpriced Johnny Thunders t‑shirt auctioned on eBay by some street punk with (0) feedback most likely looking to rip me off.
Todd Clay Stuart is an emerging Midwestern writer. He studied creative writing at the University of Iowa. His most recent publication is in Flash Fiction Magazine. He lives with his wife, daughter, and two loyal but increasingly untrustworthy pets. Find him on Twitter @toddclaystuart and at http://toddclaystuart.com.