It was sort of surreal the way the whole thing unfolded. We picked up Grandma and Grandpa in Mom’s Honda Odyssey. Grandpa was wearing a plaid short-sleeved shirt tucked into khakis. He had some stubble on his cheeks which pricked when I kissed him hello. And Grandma looked better than I had seen her look in years. Yes, she was still in the wheelchair, but she was sitting erect, with it, her eyes
My ex came for three weeks and his leaving is overdue so I am going to move but I plan to look out for him and maybe keep my name on this lease if our boys cannot find a ground floor with lots of light and walker accessible. His folks do hospital visits, and call, and he is grateful for that but they do not have space for much else.
My ex can no longer eat granola. His teeth have fallen
Charlotte doesn’t speak Spanish. She took two years of French in high school and, because she thought it would be funny, a year of Latvian in college to satisfy a language requirement, but it wasn’t funny and she got a C. The professor looked at her with wild eyes. At the end of the semester, he held her hand and said some languages aren’t for everybody. So when her roommate, Set, makes telephone
We’d planned to have dinner with the Hardaways at a restaurant we’d never been to, a popular new fish place. They had been there a number of times already, enough to be considered regulars and to know which table to ask for, so they made the reservation for four at 6:30.
We were looking forward to the evening, but Katherine, Mrs. Hardaway, sent us a message the day before saying they had
Around the white tablecloth: men in suits with cufflinks. They order Up Olive, Dry, On the rocks. The waiters, many of them students, keep to the periphery, watching signs of low scotch, the tinkle of ice. Food is eaten or ignored. It is the drink that fastens the men together and the smoke afterward until the time for men to pick up daughters from ballet lessons. The girls climb quickly into the
The woman learned she couldn’t have children. Her doctor said he was very sorry to tell her this, and patted her knee, and looked at her thoughtfully, like her inability to have children was a puzzle, or her condition was an interesting bit of information he could tell the other doctor’s staffed at the hospital, and they could all have a laugh over the poor woman and her poor, ill-formed uterus
You worry about the eye, the microphone in it that gathers and transmits daughter sounds. Her infant coos, the soft rustle, cry, unrecoverable gasp—the dread deep stillness. Every day with her in your new life is a scratch of light in some future impenetrable darkness. You and this little plastic receiver downstairs, the monitor the size and shape of a bar of soap, navigating invisible extremes
I’ve been on the front porch looking for my son since the first dark clouds moved in. Mikey’s always been afraid of storms. And now here he comes, making the squeaky sound I know is fear, running all the way with his hands cupped together. Not easy for a boy with clumsy feet.
“Friend. Save,” he tells me.
He opens his hands and there’s a little fish with bent fins.
I’m behind on the dishes—every
When the bell rings and the bear pulls Henry through the door and off the stoop, I know it is not me that has been taken because Henry and I don’t have that kind of relationship. That’s not to say I don’t love Henry tenderly, though I wouldn’t call it rapture exactly. I do things differently so he won’t leave. I select, for instance, genial shades of lipstick, blouses with mollifying designs
I leave a note for my husband, Robert, on the kitchen counter next to the latest issue of his subscription to Popular Mechanics. The note says I know he’s been sleeping with my best friend, Michelle, and by the way, she’s also sleeping with Mark who lives two doors down. I also write that I’m taking the espresso machine I gave him for his birthday. It was really a gift for me. And
“Great hair!” “Thanks.” The standard exchange between Carla and any health shop girl. Girls with names like Jasmine or Skye or Willow. Girls who munched chickpeas and trotted around the globe in an absent-minded way. “You do anything to get it like that?” Carla shrugged. She pushed the candle forward. “Just this, please.” Ocean Breeze. She needed more aroma—more
It was morning, and the day was white and soft with a low fog that had started the night before in the treetops and slowly shrugged to the ground. Our water line had frozen, which happened a lot in the winter. So many days we walked behind our father looking for the source of the freeze, feeling the black, rubber line for give and pressure, cutting branches in our path, making things clear