It's moving day, and I thought I had packed everything up, but there it was in the corner of the room — a small green stone that I once believed was magic.
I had lost it some years ago when my girlfriend Jemma and I moved in. It's smooth, rigid, and about the size of a dollar coin. Light loosely shines off its smoky glass-like surface. The room is empty besides this. The engine of the truck roars on outside the complex.
She gave it to me a few years after we got together. I was starting to get anxiety from all the calls I'd get at my insurance job so she bought me a therapy-stone (whatever that is. . .) and it sat on my desk at home until I started pocketing it each morning before work. I would grasp it in my palm and run my fingers along it every other phone call. It had a calming effect on me. It became so important to me at that job that if I forgot it I'd freak out and grab a rock from the company parking lot and bring that in with me instead.
That was years ago. I take the stone off the floor and look around for the last time. The living room and bedroom are empty, both bigger than I remember. In the entryway near the door, I see a ghost, I see her — as the last time I saw her.
She stood by the doorway in our apartment that she rarely now visited. It wasn't a surprise when she told me, "Stephen, it's over," and although I had been lying to myself I knew in my gut it was true. For a while, even when she was here there grew a palpable silence that became more difficult to pierce. The kind of silence that only two people can share alone. It was accompanied by feelings of uncertainty, unworthiness, and desperation. I remember hearing or reading somewhere that you don't have to stay anywhere forever.
"No more," I said, passing through the front, shutting the door, and setting the stone on the banister.
I walked down the stairs, out of my apartment, and into my life — clear-headed, open-hearted, and with magic on the tips of my fingers.