She carefully washed the vegetables she had pulled from the refrigerator. Her sick little sister wanted soup, and that was her main focus. She tried not to look out of the corner of her eyes at him sitting there.

She searched for the vegetable knife, afraid to look and see if he was staring, glaring, or even caring. The silence screamed pierced her stronger and louder than any words ever could. In her head, she filled the blanks with make believe scenarios and conversations. The knife she found was sharp, and cut through the vegetables easily.

"I'm leaving," he announced to the wall, and she averted her gaze so she could avoid eye contact and be sucked in over and over. The pieces of carrots she cut were getting smaller and more precise. She was chopping and not thinking about the sound of his feet across her kitchen, the door creaking open, the seconds that seemed to freeze time as he stood in the doorway. Only the sound of the knife hitting the cutting board. Nothing else. Certainly not.

As the door closed behind him, she told herself, I will not think. She focused on the carrot she cut and moved on to the second one. I'm probably starving a rabbit somewhere, like the ones He sets traps for in the garden. At the thought of him, the knife slipped from position and pierced her index finger. Although the blood was visible, it didn't hurt. It was more of an awakening.

She ran the water over her hand so it mingled with the blood, creating streams in the water that seemed to stretch out like stars in an endless sky. Kissing the stars now felt like choking on bits of dust. The only water was what was left in the sink. She would not shed a tear. Tears were for the weak. They were something that could be transformed now that she transitioned.

She looked back down at that carrot. I can't put a bloody carrot in the soup, she thought. Although it was as simple as washing it off, she felt it would taint the soup. Her sister never needed to see dirty blood. She ran the carrot under the sink and counted her steps as she walked out the door in a daze, not thinking of how He had just walked that same way or where he was now or his fire that could not be extinguished by water or even blood.

I'd rather set traps for the foxes eating the rabbits, she thought, passing the garden that with its wilted, drying leaves. What did it even matter in this place?

She set the carrot near the edge of the woods where the rabbits came from.

Maybe the blood would strengthen them and keep them away from angry foxes, or maybe it would just taint them. Either way, she felt better about the traps now.

The bruises didn't seem to hurt anymore.