He walked past a picture of Stephanie and himself on his way to the kitchen. Both of them were laughing so hard they were about to fall over. Stephanie was 7 in the picture. They'd been washing the car and Sarah had caught them with more suds on themselves than the vehicle. She'd laughed along with them, then banned them from the house until they'd dried off.

He grabbed the picture from the wall and placed it face down on the counter, next to a box that was nearly full of other, similar, framed photographs. He poured himself a glass of water. He'd wrap and pack the picture later.

Heading back to the living room, he decided it was time to tackle a bookshelf. He put together a new box and sat on the ground to begin. He didn't pay attention to the titles. These were Sarah's books anyways. He still wasn't sure what he was going to do with them all. Most of them were tidy, unmarked, if a bit worn with use. The box filled quickly. He frowned into it, wondering if he should leave it open to stuff something soft into the spaces that were too small for books or just close it up and be done with it for the moment. As he wondered, the book in his hand shifted. He looked over at it and realized it was one of the few books Sarah had ever owned that was actually falling apart. It had been one of her favorites, with pages dog-eared to mark well-loved passages and notes covering the margins.

Kyle opened the book randomly, not to read, just taking in the feel of her that suffused the entire thing. He flipped the page and blinked in surprise. A photograph had fallen out. It was a picture of the two of them when they'd first met. He was smiling, squinting up into a bright blue sky. She was gazing at him with her lower lip between her teeth, knees hugged to her chest and the satisfied expression of a kid who's just gotten a cookie she knows is well-earned. Along the bottom, in a fine-lined black marker, were the words “never alone again.”

His throat constricted, making it hard to breath. He coughed a couple of times, sniffed, then ground his teeth and pushed himself up from the floor. Clutching both the picture and the book so hard his hands hurt, he paced around the room. It was full of pictures. Pictures of Stephanie, pictures of himself with Stephanie. A few pictures of all three of them and one or two of him by himself. The pictures were Sarah's passion. She wanted everything documented, so that she wouldn't forget. As a result, she was generally the one behind the camera.

“But you didn't need it!” He shouted at the air, throwing the book against the wall. “You didn't need the reminders! I did!” He tried to throw the photograph, but the paper flutter weakly to the floor rather than flying from him and crashing satisfactorily against anything. “You're dead and gone and all I have is what's in my head!” Unshed tears burned his eyes. “Because you had to leave work at that time!” He turned and saw that he was face-to-face with a picture of himself on the top of a mountain. They'd hiked up in the early morning, and she'd insisted on capturing his silhouette against the golden rim of the rising sun. He punched the glass in the frame, shattering it and slicing his knuckles.

Broken glass and blood tinkled gently the ground and the only picture he really wanted to forget danced just behind his eyes again. Sarah's body, shredded by more glass than should ever have been able to come out of two cars. The drunk driver hadn't been wearing his seat belt and when he'd hit Sarah's car, he'd flown through his own windshield and been forced through hers by the weight of his car as it flipped to land on her hood.

His fury spent, Kyle slumped back to the floor, letting the tears flow freely down his face. He reached behind him, snatching up the crumpled photograph and smoothing it against his leg. Running a finger along the curve of her cheek, he shook his head. “You weren't supposed to leave me.”