'Cuddly toy, Fondue set' by Clare Kirwan


It's only stuff really, she tells herself: her nan's old sofa, three years worth of book club selections, plastic spatulas, potted plants and work shirts.

In the end she takes almost nothing - she can't think straight and it’s too difficult to rank things on a scale of their importance. In the end she only opts for a change of underwear, a cup-a-soup, the A-Z.  He'd put the hammer down by now, though he may still be shouting. She can't hear anything except a word in her head that drowns all others: leave! Everything else is instinctive, like an animal in flight... and what animal stops for their favourite shoes, the wedding photographs?

It makes you stronger, she will tell herself later, to know you're not tied down by possessions, places, people. The first album you ever bought, that dress, your tatty teddy bear – they are just things that pass in front of you as if on a conveyor belt in that 1970’s game show. And you only get to keep the things you can think of in those two minutes.

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