Jerry: "Hubbell's been driving us crazy at our poker game for a year talking about you."
Jerry: "He was insane about you. Told us every little detail. Shoe size nine, right? When he met you, that was it. I'm so sorry."
Jerry is the only person who looked at Michelle and saw a widow; who looks at Michelle and Fanny together and sees a family. Through his eyes she can see Michelle, for the first time, as a person. Not a ghost, but the woman her son loved. For a year, he spoke of nothing else. That makes her a piece of him; a piece preserved, for Fanny. That's what makes it hurt the most:
Jerry: "I'll call you first thing. And as soon as things settle down a bit, you just stop by the office and we'll get the paperwork done. Fanny can tell you where it is. Just some signatures, no rush."
Signatures for what? Not for Fanny. For the call Hubbell made, on his way back from Vegas, with his wife asleep next to him, in fox-face t-shirt and tiny shorts. The land, the house, the studio, this unexpected life: For Michelle. For his wife. And the wheels come off again, and something special drops out of the world. Completely broken, forever. And that's what death is like too.
JACOB CLIFTON is a freelance writer and critic based in Austin, Texas. He currently recaps The Killing, Bunheads, Pretty Little Liars and True Blood for TWoP. Jacob can be found online at jacobclifton.com, on Twitter, and on Facebook. IRL work appears in BenBella's SmartPop series of anthologies, and novelette "The Commonplace Book" will appear on Tor.com in October 2012.