Grief Clause

While I work in my studio, my landlord performs her annual walk-through of my apartment and texts her concern: it’s pretty griefy in there. She has found grief the color and consistency of chewed Bubble Yum all over the single-family unit but especially in the following areas: in the living room where we used to get high and watch Sixty-three Scariest Sea Monsters, on the floor around the bed we bought together in a different city, and in the shower, which she specifically instructed us upon moving in two years ago to keep clean due to the potential for both grief and water damage.

“I’m so sorry. I’ll clean it immediately. I’ve been so busy with the semester,” I write back to her. The grief makes it hard to type, my fingers sticking to the phone screen and my hands coated with a pink that feels like ceramics slip.

“I’ll come back in three months to check. You know the lease.”

When we signed, I skimmed the lengthy grief clause, the instructions for prevention and maintenance, the consequences should tenants leave their grief unchecked. None of this, I figured, would apply to us. We would fall more in love in these sunny rooms.