My lovely Rin,
It has been far, far too long since I read any of your work, and I've been meaning to read this since you posted it! Real life is such a cow sometimes, but I am super glad that I've managed to get this down, and give you a well-deserved review full of squee.
I really, really enjoyed this. Even though it was very heavily about grief and about this great loss and regret Marlene feels you do still manage to create something beautiful from it. Throughout this, I could almost hear white noise, hear Marlene literally fading herself away from anything real that reminds her what she's lost. Yet, the way you've described things shows the way she's experienced this loss. It's not a great gaping hole, and she's not howling and wailing. This line is so, so spot on: 'Her grief drips and trickles out of her, and she cannot begin to patch the leaks.' She is wounded and she's not letting herself heal - that's how I see it. The encounter with the salesman, too, just shows how lost and absent minded she's become. I really, really feel for her :(
One thing you did ask me to comment on was the choppiness of this piece. You really needn't have worried though, because I don't feel it is an issue at all. I loved the pace of this, the distance there is between this piece and the reader, (which somehow manages to tighten the bond nonetheless) and your use of italics and brackets...it all really worked for me. You've also notably switched your writing style throughout, which I guess does make the piece choppy like you intended, but it more predominantly shows how up-and-down Marlene feels, during this awful up-and-down time. I think it's lovely that you have managed to stick to 500 words, so the pace is absolutely fine. I do wonder what it would be like if it was extended to, say, 1,000, or 1,500 words, and whether it would become too choppy then. But here, this is perfect, completely and utterly.
What breaks my heart (and makes me fall in love with all the more) about this piece is the obvious anger Marlene has for Edgar's death. Instead of her moping, she's a character with real pain and an obvious fire in her, even if this has made her feel all but just flickered out :( When she is angry with him it doesn't seem unjustified at all - I really think you've done an astounding job at expressing how she's feeling and why, but at the same time letting us decide at the end of it that it is grief twisting her thoughts, and it's something we can't really begin to understand. Really, really beautiful.
You should be ever so proud of this piece, because you've managed to make it so breathtaking and heartbreaking in only 500 words. I guess that shows what a really inspirational and amazing writer you are :)