Pseudopod 179: Fading Light

By Simon Strantzas

Read by Nerraux

It reminds me of the place Jackson and I lived in during our final year of university. The corridors are filled with the partial light of forty-watt bulbs, and the walls look soiled and gummy — the odour of cooking meat and bleach sweating from them. Only three straight corridors, one on top of the other, each end marked by a staircase: the building feels decidedly utilitarian. Unlike our old apartment, however, there’s no telling how long Jackson will be here for.

“I feel like I’ve been robbed by myself,” he says, surveying the scattered boxes. “She only took the things I cared most about. Gilbert, she even took my cat. My cat!” He shakes his head. “All she left me was this.” His trembling hands unwrap a framed photograph of Janet and himself in Africa on the trip they had planned over a year to take together. In it, Jackson is adjusting a safari hat too large for him, trying to keep it from falling over his eyes. Janet has her brown cheek pressed up against his, focused on something beyond the photographer. Both are smiling. “I know I should throw this away,” he says. “But I can’t. Why can’t I throw it away?” I shift boxes around, wondering how I’m suddenly supposed to know the answer.