“We were playing,” I say. “He fell.” My arm still hurts where he pinched me. I think he’s dead. I pushed him hard enough.
I can see my breath. This is a picture I’ll never paint: “Man with a Broken Leg in the Snow.”
The knot slips easily. The chair wobbles. One step, and it’s done. The air is full of silence and torn betting slips.
Q: Want to? Pregnant? Do you take this man…? I drink too much? You know about us? It’s over, then? A: Yes.
“Where’s my ring? The one Mother left me?” He looks in his wallet. “No idea.” The wallet holds less than he had hoped, and a pawn ticket.
Twenty Years Later
When their youngest left the nest, he finally told her what he really thought about her. Then they had a second honeymoon.
After the Fight
He came home to a note: “Gone to Mom’s. Back–?” An hour later, she found him weeping into a drink. She had only gone for tea….
Aunts, uncles, cousins–the whole family but one–all sit down to dinner. The doorbell rings, and the long-empty plate is filled.
Night. Fog. A deer leaps into my headlights and out again. I pass through the space it leaves on its way into the hunting season.
“Can’t resist your pumpkin pie.” “Enjoy, Pop.” He eats, winking thanks. He vanishes. She sits in his place and eats his still-warm pie.
She puts on her left sock, her left shoe. Surgery, therapy, years of habit; still she sits a moment, disturbed by a sense of unfinished business.
I was about to say I was allergic to dogs when I looked into my son’s eyes and was cured.
Go to the Flashbacks link for all years’ Hot Flashes.