I have been busy with work and life…so here is an old story that I have never been able to place…
The House Abandoned Overnight
She sits and stares at the picture and wonders if she is reading it or not. She knows she’s not reading it, like you would read a block of text, but still she wonders if there was any real difference in the mind and in how it works. She thinks about that until her mind has nowhere else to go. She can’t make up her mind on it; she’s arguing both sides until a fat jay lands at the birdfeeder which sits outside the window that she just now realized she was watching. She watches the bird preen and hop in the feeder and thinks about letting the cat out to harass it, maybe even kill it. Or maybe picking up the art book and tossing it out the window at it. She can’t stand bullies. She does neither and when the tea-kettle on the stove whistles it scares off the jay, which flies up into the sun until it is white and nothing.
She goes back into the kitchen and makes her tea and pours water over the instant oatmeal, then spoons brown sugar over it and adds the milk so that the sugar stands out like an island in a miniature sea of white. Its aesthetics please her and she hesitates a moment admiring it before plunging the spoon in mixing land and sea and oatmeal.
She sits at the table watching the sun slowly paint the large picture-window white; she listens to the birds outside and to the silence upstairs.
Time passes, the world unfolds, and then the phone rings. She knew it would eventually. It doesn’t startle her. Instead of answering it she picks the receiver up from its cradle and drops it back down in mid-ring sending a stunted ding throughout the downstairs of the house, which stirs the cat from its nap. The cat looks up at the phone, then lays its head back down and closes it eyes. She stares at the cat accusingly, she thinks about saying “You knew didn’t you?” but thinks better of it, and instead she reaches down grabs the phone cord and yanks it out of the wall.
Because there was nothing else to do she turns on the radio. She listens to a report on the weather without ever hearing it. She sees the sun rising in the cloudless sky blue as a robin’s egg and she thinks to herself that it should mean more. And she feels a terror rising within her, because she knows that the blue isn’t real, that it was a trick that her eyes and mind are playing on her, she knows that it wasn’t really there at all, but that in truth it was barren, and that it was black and that it went on forever.
She thinks about going upstairs again, but she had already been up there several times in the night, and she knows that what she would find there wouldn’t change, even when she had almost convinced herself that it would or could, some part of her spoke up and corrected her, forced her to confront her unalterable reality; that when she looked at his body and his life spilled out on the floor, that she couldn’t put it back in. So instead she put on her slippers and took off her bath robe and went outside into the garden and sat naked among the peony, lemon balm, and ants. And felt the sun, and all that lay beyond it on her skin.