The door is ajar. We step inside. A microwave dinner for one on the counter. It is thawing. The cardboard packaging is soggy, limp. It looks sorry for itself. A book on an armchair. She told a neighbour that she couldn’t put it down. It’s flat on its back. Curtains drawn shut. Sunlight peeking onto the final page. Mustn’t look. Mustn’t spoil the surprise.
A black dress on the bed. It’s a dinner dress. Lace with a drop at the back. It shows off the curvature of the unmade bed. It looks unworn. I lose sight of my job. I almost begin to feel sorry for her.
Dead skin particles dance in the loose light. Hair fragments catch vague reflections. Her scent enters and then leaves swiftly. We told it to. No journalists. No spectators. No visitors. This life has not been lived. This house is not a home. This is a crime scene.
Neighbours look intently at the police tape as they go by. They try to remember her name. It isn’t forthcoming. She does not exist. She is you.