Grace Walsh stood on the platform of the train station, imagining the dead. The tracks and platforms of the Bahnhof were cut into a hillside. On the far side of the tracks, the earth was held back by a concrete wall fronted with rough concrete pillars. The wall was the height of two Irish women, more or less. A graveyard crowded the brink of the wall, almost spilling over onto the tracks below. Above the concrete edge, Grace could see headstones adorned with bright splotches of flowers. The Viennese tended their dead well. At least you could say that much for them.
I spend my time now in the space between heartbeats, where silence sings of memories. How could you leave me here alone, when you were the only one who believed in me? I suppose I chased you away, somehow, like I have others, my willful ways and dark moods exhausting you to the point of breaking.
Words cannot adequately express the giddy joy I experienced while I stood on the ferry’ s bow, alone with my “escort” (an amiable deckhand twice my size, half my age), as the vessel glided swiftly across the gunmetal Puget Sound toward Charleston, where the Law awaited me with open bracelets. The early spring sun made a lovely show of going down behind the Olympic Mountains–all dreampurple and pastel poetry. It had been ages since I had felt a sunset unfettered by loss. I was was further gladdened when my escort shooed off some fool who had come out of the cabin to capture (thus desecrate) the sunset on his phone. There was a reason we were alone; that reason (also, twice my size, half my age) was inside the cabin holding one of those phony “Blu-Ice” bags to the spot on her meaty chin where I had landed a right cross just a few minutes before.
I have a brother who isn’t a boy at all, but a fish.
When I tell people this, most of them chuckle politely, their bustling minds already flicking past the youthful imaginings of the charming little boy. That is, until they’ve seen him with their own eyes. My brother with his transparent fins and gills cut into the side of his neck and of course- the sea of shimmering scales that secretly hold all the colours of the world.
“I’ll grab the corn and you grab the potatoes,” Poncho yelled to Julia. Julia was wearing her wedding dress, full train and veil, to save time. She wouldn’t have to change when they returned.
Anna was not one to look twice at anything or anyone. Everyone looked twice at her though. They couldn’t help it.
Most people don’t bother looking twice at insignificant details, so unsurprisingly she wasn’t particularly popular. People thought Anna was either arrogant, or stupid, or both. But I knew that when she did look twice at something, even more rarely someone, that look could take hours, it could take days. I’ve spent my whole life waiting for her to look at me like that.
The police showed her his watch. His watch and wallet, and his wedding ring. No matter how much Amy asked to see her husband’s body, they dissuaded her. None of them actually said that he was unrecognisable because of his injuries but, through the shock and horror of it all, the message was eventually received. She picked up the timepiece she had bought a couple of years earlier. The engraving on the back ‘All My Love Stuart – your Amy’ left no room for doubt. His wallet held some money, his bank cards. His driving licence was missing, that was how they had found her.