The house was always so silent now. No sound of teeth being brushed, no early morning showers. She laid there in her bed, eyes searching the ceiling. She looked at the clock on her nightstand. The blue and white LED of her digital clock blinked to seven a.m. Sunlight leaked through the gaps between the blinds and the walls.

There was no reason to get up, no reason to be awake at all, but years of routine do not fade slowly. She pushed the blanket to her waist, sat up, leaned down toward her toes until she heard her spine make satisfying cracking sounds. After a deep sigh, she was ready to turn out of bed.

As she exited her room, she felt the chill of the morning. The long, dark hallway seemed desolate though it hadn’t changed in ten years. She walked down to the bathroom, past the now-empty rooms. Her palm brushed against each door she passed along the way.

They were far away now, her children. Some farther than others.

The cabinets held only her few toiletries now: a small jar of thick, green pomade, toothpaste, a pink bottle of Oil of Olay. She brushed her teeth, looked in the mirror, and wondered, again, why she was up so early.

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