You have to let me go

About a year and a half ago I began a Black writing group with my friends. We’re all writers of different genres, goals and experiences. But the one thing we share is our desire to write and grow in a community of Blackness. I’m often surprised by the things I come up with in those monthly sessions. This piece came from the theme of “letting go.” I tried a something different. This piece is stripped down. Personal. Cryptic. I ended up liking it, so I’ve decided to share.

———

“You have to let me go,” Jenna said. Her voice was firm. It felt foreign even to her.

Maurice lowered his eyes and sobbed, briefly. A toddler’s cry. He walked behind the counter and brought back a cardboard box. Placed it on the table before her.

“I don’t want to see that,” Jenna said. Her voice wasn’t so firm anymore.

“Tough,” Maurice replied. “You wanna leave? You’ll have to take him with you.”

A rank odor arose and slithered into both of their nostrils.

“I can’t,” Jenna said, covering her mouth. Afraid she’d vomit.

Maurice took his seat and pushed the box closer to Jenna. “You can’t have it both ways. Not anymore.”

He leaned over and unlocked the lid. Jenna thrust her hands in front of her face. “I don’t want to see it!” she screamed. But it was too late. It all went dark.

***

When she came to, Maurice was by her side, fanning Jenna in a small room underneath a soft yellow light.

“Is it gone?” Jenna whispered. She scrunched her nose. Afraid of smelling that dreadful odor again.

Maurice wiped her forehead and leaned in from the shadows. “You’ll never see it again,” he whispered, “so long as you’re here, right by my side.”