Family and Relationships
My husband, John, calls me a good mother. He says this with a glint of unease in his eyes, as though he is telling a lie or working a charm.
In the summer we got word that the county forestland near our northern-Wisconsin home would be clear-cut. “Not my favorite pines,” I said, hoping. But, yes, those were the ones.
The first portal that appeared in town belonged to Mr. Hogan. It showed up in one of his bathrooms above the sink, blocking a good deal of his vanity mirror and causing several shaving accidents. I don’t know why the portal appeared to him. It’s not like he was the type to attract otherworldly things.
I imagine Warren and Adrianne as little archaeologists, trying to unearth the bones of their father’s life, holding up shoes and hats they’ve disinterred, old letters, a college ring inside a carved wooden box from Afghanistan.
Jeff is getting ready to start the meeting, pretending since I walked in that he hasn’t seen me. I don’t blame him for that, but I feel like telling everyone that most of the shit they spout in these places isn’t true. If it were, Jeff wouldn’t be ducking me; he’d be taking me on in front of everyone and forcing the Truth. Where’s your Fearless and Searching Moral Inventory, Jeff?
On Sundays I go to the country, to Arandale, to sit on Annie’s rotting deck and look up at the sky, so soaked in blue today it could almost collapse. This is Annie’s sky, and I need to witness it with her every week, just as I need to stack firewood with her and wash my hands in her cold water. Without Annie, I’d be just a shadow blowing around the big city. Annie colors me in, makes me real.
That night the parents tell their children they can stay up until nine, an hour past bedtime, but no more. It is a school night, after all, and the children must get up at six tomorrow morning. But this is no ordinary Tuesday night, the parents know, and the children have been begging to stay up later.