Removing her had become a project. He cut out text from books that bore her memory with nail scissors and unsteady hands and his apartment filled with snowflake confetti slips declaring “mistress” and “custard” and “right.” Physical correspondence coagulated into a collection of mysterious cyphers to codes no-one had.

Conversations now were something had by others. Speech transmuted shapes of her mouth behind his eyelids. He no longer frequented his favoured hair salon. The owner had her face. Removing that would only put him in chains with further semiotic weight.

He took stock of his entirely new furniture from his favoured horizontal position on the houndstooth rug too ugly to remind him of anyone. The wall carried photographs no more and he thought about whether the house could stand without it.

He knew how far he would get until there was only one thing left to erase. Each morning he stared a good few minutes at the belt around the doorknob before he got in the shower.

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