Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Nicola is laying out the strips of macaroni dough, one by one, to dry. Pavarotti sings Madame Butterfly and the leaves outside this window quiver in sync with his vibrato.

Nicola puts fresh leaves of mint into her pitcher of iced tea, and passes through the screen door into the garden. She places the pitcher on a hot black table so that it can drink the sun.

Nicola finds the small of her back and pulls loose the bow of her yellow apron. She washes and dries her hands. She dips her fingers into the bowl by the sink and grasps the two wedding bands. They slide on with ease. The big one has been falling off lately.

Nicola has company coming in five hours and is not sure she is ready yet. It has been years, but she might not be ready yet.

She glimpses a spot on the china and removes the rings once more. When she finishes washing the teapot the phone rings, and then the laundry buzzer sounds, and then she must shower. The rings are left forgotten in the bowl and when she returns to the kitchen she will accidently knock them into the sink where they will roll a half circle and into the drain.

Nicola will put her face in her hands and sink to the floor and the doorbell will ring.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


"Did you tell him?"

"I don't think so".

"You don't think so".


"Please, Erica, I'm not having a conversation where it feels like I am speaking Japanese today. Just talk. Talk like a normal person or get out of my car".

Deep breath.

"I don't think I did, but Sandra may have. She took over for awhile and pushed me way, way back inside. So I'm not sure. So you know. I'm not sure if he knows."

"Ah. So Sandra's back. How about Lucy? Has she been signing her name on your personal checks again? And Martin, is he going to start driving you to Mexico for "breathers" again this summer? Really Erica, tell me. Because you know who I think we should maybe be talking about? Erica and Dr. Rosenberg. Yes, let's just limit it to two today, shall we, because I can't keep track of them anymore".


"And all of you had better plan on being at your appointment tomorrow. Because you need all the help you can get in figuring out how to tell this guy you are pregnant Erica".

Peels of laughter.

"She's gone. Erica was needed somewhere else"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Love and War

New Years Eve is lonely. It's like the world is throwing a party for a promotion I didn't end up getting, but I blow my noisemaker and raise my glass so as not to ruin the celebratory mood.

As I am herded tonight from dinner to party to street I scan the masses for eyes that might hook into mine for a deep, hungry, stranger soul kiss. The same four people seem to pass by over and over again.

Suddenly, the sky starts to explode and in thousands we sprint frantically to the water's edge. I stare at my blurry feet and half expect my neighbor to blow apart in pieces at any moment while my fellow Americans play happy color games with gunpowder.

"Daddy", she implores, tugging at my hand, "lift me up!" Through the pulse of her tiny legs around my neck I experience her wonder, fear, and confusion over orange and purple flowers that are born to instant death, over and again, where the clouds used to be. Oh, dear one, what I wouldn't give for you to know my story and to never hear it too.

New Year's Eve is sobering. That song, whose lyrics don't match its heart wrentching sound, is the perfect anthem. And as it plays, my soul leaves the little girl and mingles in the dark with this community of strangers to which it will never truly belong.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Begging Chance

Molly wished hard and dropped the origami paper cranes into the goldfish pond. "They float, he comes, they sink, he doesn't, but they will surely sink", she prepared herself, staring intently at the stiff white creatures.

The pond was making fishy noises, like bubble and droplet sounds. The clouds swam in sidestrokes across the sun. She pulled her knees in closer to her tummy and scowled as the birds began to contort and blur. She listened hard for the car. If he comes, I'll pray, I'll be nicer, I'll stop asking for things. Just let him. Let. Him. Come!

The spaces behind the heads and in between the wings now were pools of slimy water, and the necks turned, broken, in all kinds of wrong directions until the bodies had fully submerged.

"I knew they would sink. Why do you think I put them in the water? I made them sink!" she whispered furiously to her reflection.

Who needs him, she thought, and tomorrow we will make him not come again. Well, maybe we will give him another chance. If it rains tomorrow, he will come.