Dear Owner of The Rental House,

Your dead wife’s things are all around me.  Her photos, her paintings, her perfumes.  I understand this. I understand grief.

Part of me even understands the altar you created in the living room, set with her memorial service program, her incense, notes in her handwriting.  Yes, this is an unusual backdrop for watching old Hugh Grant movies on your big screen TV.

You rent this house by the week, inviting us in, asking everyone who shares it to think of her, to wonder about her, to help you keep her alive.

I am doing my part, the part you seek, by writing about you both.  About a marriage and a bond so strong, that a woman’s half-finished oil paintings still hang in your garage studio, as if you are waiting for her brush to hover over the stretched canvas once again.  Hoping the picture will complete itself, to see what was in the painter’s heart all along.

And yet, I think you already know.

Very sincerely,

Your Tenant

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