I inched opened the door until I could make out the back of her head, brown hair undone from its usual sloppy knot, intertwined with the fingers of her left hand, listening to Sarah, who spoke from the other side of the table. Mugs of now cold tea sat between them.
"She wouldn't want him to have it."
"How would we know that for sure? She never said she wanted him completely forgotten either. He deserves something."
"For what? Living?"
"Living isn't something to be rewarded for. Good for you, you're alive. You don't get shwag for breathing."
My own breath punctuated the silent moments after that statement.
"This tea has gone limp. Want some more, I'll make more water?"
" No, I can't have anything else. I feel like I'm going to fall over anyways."
More breathing. More time.
"He can have it." Sarah's voice. "I don't care anymore. What's the big deal anyways? It won't make up for anything or change anything, but it will make at least one person feel better after this whole shitfest."
"Do you think she loved him?"
"I don't know. Maybe? She must have in the beginning. I mean, she had you after she had me, that had to mean something. I was the spite baby, but you were something else."
"Why close him off?"
"Do you wish she hadn't?"
"I wish she had at least let us decide for ourselves what the terms could be."
"It's not a contract, Jess."
"Isn't it? Isn't everything a contract? I agree to do this, you agree to do that? I won't hurt you, you won't hurt me? Conversations are contracts, we're all trying to buy into the same idea that people are rational and there are reasons for why people do and say what they do and say."
"If that were true there would be consequences for breaking it."
"Well, tada, look where we are now. Let him have it. Keep our end of the deal even if he doesn't know or care what the terms were in the first place."
"Ok. Fine. Ok, if you really think so."
She rose to clear the mugs, I let the door close and crept back upstairs to the guest room.