Some days you sit together on the bench swing in the yard, counting the number of lizards that run around you, or take early morning walks around the neighborhood, admiring the shades of yellows and corals and blues, which are brighter before the humidity covers everything with its familiar haze.
Her son turns over, away from her, mumbles in his sleep. She strains to hear if she can make out actual words, yearns for a glimpse into his inner thoughts, the ones he used to share with her, but that he now keeps locked away. He sighs, and she resists the urge to shake him awake, demand that he talk.
Laura was used to waiting for Evan. She waited for him to notice her through high school, waited for him to ask her on their first date, to ask her to marry him, to decide he was ready for children.
Wish. Kids. Disappear. I said them, words that must have made a quantum leap, their velocity greater than the speed of light until time moved backward, until those words entered the realm of negative time. Who would have thought that the distance from my mouth to God’s ear could only be measured on the subatomic scale? Who would have thought?
Cool and calm, the good mother, I watched my kids jump and swim and splash each other, Marco Polo, but something burned me from the inside out, Mom zapping me with her stun gun, her theories and philosophies.
Linney swallows the Valium and lays still, her hands clasped on her midsection, on her side of the bed. She hears Charles tapping on his laptop in the library room. There will be ghosts, she realizes, lurking, waiting for her wherever she goes. The trick, maybe, is not to acknowledge them, to pretend to be asleep when they sit at the end of her bed, to keep brushing her teeth when they appear behind her in the mirror.
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