The briefcase and half empty glass of juice meant only one thing. Julia tapped her papers against the glass table. “Why do you always do this?” Robin dragged his fork through the syrup running over his pancakes. “Why do I always do what?” “This.” Robin pointed at her briefcase with his dripping fork. “Go to work?” “It’s lame. When I grow up I’m gonna be a dancer.” Julia leaned down to the boy’s level where his blue eyes pierced her own. “That sounds wonderful. I know you’ll do that but until then …” Julia lifted his backpack and ballet slippers.
“That things a voodoo doll.” Lori kneeled down beside her sister. “It is not.” The duo peered into the room where Ms. Mack snored with her mouth agape towards the ceiling. “Of course it is. Why do you think your stomach always hurts when we’re here?” Lori tapped the side of Jules head. “Think about it.” “It’s a pin cushion you meathead.” “No, a pin cushion looks like a tomato.” Lori nodded towards the coffee table where Ms. Mack’s sewing supplies spread over the edges and onto the floor. “Hers has little people on it. All the kids she watches.”
I imagine the breeze rustling the trinkets dangling above me. I even hear them in some distant space, clanking against each other ruefully. I can see them battling for space, a place to occupy my mind.
I remember watching TV. Knights clashed their swords together for the attention of some distant maiden. Sunlight carves stark lines across my single mattress like the scales of a dragon’s belly.
I’m careful with this one possession. I lay still but not for long out of fear my waif body will destroy it.
I sink into the lines, willing the beast to devour me.
It is an act of happenstance that humans age. We were supposed to be the all supreme, controllers of our environment and all that means.
At least, that’s what this book says. Personally, I’ve never felt one bit in control of this life. Try telling your military commanders or your knuckleheaded children to just go with the flow. They laugh in your face and tell you to put your glasses back on so you can see reality.
They’ll see one day. All these lies in the name of control will fall away. Someone will need glasses, it won’t be me.
The floozy next door thought she was perfect. Mia could tell by the way she smiled and let out that noise she called a laugh. It was nauseating and often accompanied by a playful hand on your shoulder.
Today there was some kind of shindig. Her overly bleached hair was piled on her head. She pranced down her drive with a glass of red in hand.
Mia’s husband ventured, like a moth to a boozy flame. The floozy’s red nails slid over his shoulder as her laugh trilled through the air.
My father was a gravedigger; taught me everything he knew.
Like that graves aren’t really six feet deep or that coffins and shrouded bodies require different things.
He taught me about the afterlife, murder and suicide. He taught me to wield a shovel whether I dig it in the ground or fight for my life. He taught me that those who feared death would be the first to die.
Mother never appreciated his gifts. “Unladylike.”
She never imagined I would own a yacht. I took her out to sea.
My father taught me a lot, like ignoring her screams.