Every day, for four hundred eighty-three days, some little piece of his life fell away. At first, he hadn’t even noticed. A lowered friend count on his social media, a tiny clump of hair in the sink, the discontinuation of his favorite frozen waffles, an obituary in the paper for some childhood acquaintance, a notice of death for a relative he’d never met. 

Taken individually, each was inconsequential. After all, such minor losses were common.

When Natalie had him served with divorce papers, he began to suspect. It wasn’t until the judge granted her full custody of Niko and Ana that he was certain. The melting-away of his life continued unabated. His cat slipped out the door and was hit by a car. Two weeks later, a burglar made off with family jewelry smuggled out of Nazi-occupied Belgium. Within a month, the little rancher that had been his home since childhood burned down.

By the time his sister called him an alcoholic and slammed the door in his face, he’d been reduced to almost nothing.

One Sunday morning in May, a shriveled, unidentifiable shell of a man was found curled in the arched entryway to a church.