The chair belonged to the table set I inherited when my mother passed away. It didn’t fit anywhere in the house, not in the kitchen, not in any corner space where it could be made useful. So when my partner decided to claim it for his own, the chair ended up in the garage, at a new table, where it was sat upon and enjoyed, as a resting place, a work place, a smoking place, a social place, and finally, his quiet place. I would hear the legs of the chair scrape periodically when I was in the kitchen, and although it was buffered by the door, I came to know the squeak as a prelude that soon I would have to stop what I was doing. Interrupting myself was voluntary. He would stomp into the kitchen and re-fill his coffee cup. I would generously get out of his way.
– I’m really sorry, said the paramedic.
– But there’s no blood, I said.
– No. No blood, said the paramedic. You might need to talk to the police.
We stared at the gravestone.
A bad wife, but an adequate mother and grandmother
It’s three feet farther to hell from New Town Bridge. The city recently installed an eighteen-inch “safety” extension to the pedestrian rail. Since it opened in 1978, at least twenty persons have jumped off the ugly gray span and found death waiting two-hundred feet below in the beckoning Philo Bay Narrows. Northern seas swiftly kill the pain; and when that comforting certainty outweighs the threat of damnation, I don’t see another foot and a half up, and down, getting in the way.
Brianna Jones was good at running. She attributed it to her nervousness, a fearful quality present since before she could remember. It was easy to grow up scared in her household. It was always loud, and not a warm, hearty, people-at-a-Thanksgiving-party loud. It was an angry-shouting, glass-shattering, door-slamming-in-the-background loud.
Tiny clots of tissue and intestine trailed down my driveway and snaked around to the backyard. Before the touch of day, I’d let Shiva out to run free from the house and I. Two hours later and still no sign of her. She’d usually come back to the front door scratching and whining to get back in; negative 42 degrees had a way of making animals panic. The cold couldn’t bother me anymore, but the sun still did—it was too bright. I grabbed a jacket anyway and headed out to look for her. She had no problem jumping the metal fence around the property. And when she didn’t feel like jumping, she’d dig her way to freedom.
Lawrence Seymour, a chronic asthmatic, died on the floor of his parents’ bathroom on the day of the party celebrating their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.