It was a haze of smoke when he tried to picture her, so one morning he started mixing her into his day, watching the gray fade slowly as he stirred and remembering how she would mix hot cocoa for him like this when it was cold outside. He had never drunk coffee before this.
The potential jokes didn’t escape him: I’ll take mine with cream and ashes, or You want some coffee with those remains? He didn’t laugh when he thought about this.
The brew stayed black, and he sipped it slowly, letting every mouthful fill him with her warmth. He tried to imagine her swimming through his veins, coursing through his blood like the platelets from the videos he saw in science class once, clotting his wounds. Healing.
He remembered learning about a tribe somewhere in Africa or South America in which the members ate their dead. He thought about this afterward.
He watched as the level lowered week by week, the urn filling slowly with its emptiness, his body filling slowly with her. He remembered learning somewhere that matter cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed, and if the urn contained every bit of her in a concentrated dosage, then by his containing her she could never truly leave the world, just transform.
No one seemed to notice the urn grow lighter. No one seemed to notice him growing larger, filling to the brim with her, becoming someone new.
When she was gone he would think about her sometimes, her face gradually rising through the static.

As an editorial assistant, Bryce Emley served The Florida Review for three years and currently is on staff with H_NGM_N. His writing can be found at The Pinch, Hawai’i Review, Yemassee, Ruminate, Pleiades, and other places.