Now, with most of his belongings packed in boxes, piled in the living room like a fort, there are just a few areas of the apartment that need to be sorted. She had not anticipated that the nightstands would be an issue.

“But they go together. They’re a set,” she says, exasperated and hating the rise in her voice. She points to one and then the other, then clasps her hands on the back of her head with a long exhale, trilling her lips.

“Why can’t I just take mine? I want it,” he says, with one hand on his waist and the other twirling that same piece of hair on the crown of his head. His voice is also higher but calm and soft the way you’d talk to a child on the edge of a tantrum.

Her voice cracks. “It makes no sense to separate them.” Her eyes sting.

“I just want something.” As though he has nothing. “Something from here to take with me.”

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