There’s a stack of unfolded laundry beside Becca on the couch as she slides her finger over the screen. In the kitchen, dirty dishes overflow from the sink to the counter to the pots on the stove with a layer of week-old grease. Chores she’ll eventually get to. Becca wonders what Tom’s been up to today. She searches her friend’s list, setting a mental timer of ten minutes.

Tom’s married to a blonde, blue-eyed Barbie doll. His smile is ear-to-ear as he’s frozen in time, looking at his bride. She keeps sliding. He’s tagged in a memory. The Barbie doll is posing with his family at a Thanksgiving dinner. Becca’s breathe deepens as her chest drops, bubbles gather in her throat. This feeling repeats itself every time she sees photos of this perfect woman, the one Tom needed Becca to be. She spots the juke box she bought his parents. The same one she leaned on after drinking too much at a family Christmas party. His parents stood in the middle of the photo, Tom to their left, Barbie doll and Trish, his sister, to their right. She thinks back to fond memories of when his family adored her. “She’s a keeper Tom. Don’t mess it up,” Trish had said. That was before the accident. Now, his sister leaned into the Barbie doll like they were best friends. A single tear rolls down Becca’s cheek. If Tom were there, he’d wipe them with his thumb and kiss her forehead, like he did after every fight.

She clicks on her own profile and wonders if he ever searches for her. What would he see if he did? Her profile photo is the one she took atop a mountain. She decided to add one more photo. Maybe he’d see it. It’s from the Alaska trip she took two years ago after the break up. Laura, a girl she met at AA, gave her the idea. “Girl, run as far as you can for a little; clear your head,” she had said. Becca had her mother drive her to the airport, since she was only allowed to drive back and forth from work.

Hiking was Tom’s hobby. She texted him a photo of snow-coated mountain tops from her seat in the plane with the caption, “guess where I am?” Tom never responded. She still stares at that message, waiting. Becca attempts to smooth her knotted hair. Luscious curls like melted chocolate turned to hay. Her mother had warned her about bleaching it. If her mother were still alive, she would hold her as she cried. Tell her that she’s worthy of love.

Becca hugs herself, a chill runs up her back. She glances at Jack sitting half empty on the end table. It’s been over ten minutes and she’s trembling. Just one more swig. Maybe he’ll like this photo. Who is she kidding? Ten seconds later and she takes another swig.


Photography Credit: Jason Rice

Julie Pereira’s work has been published in the anthology titled, Poetry is a Mountain. She’s currently pursuing a bachelors in English. “Obsession” is her first published short story.