The Old House
Whenever I used to call Mimi ask how she was doing, she’d say, “Sweetie, I’m great. How are you?” Now, when I ask she always says the same thing: She sighs and says, “Oh, it’s hard. How are you?”
Ali and George
What is it that happens, George wondered, when you’re fourteen or fifteen and nothing seems fun anymore? He sat in his dark bedroom, hearing the twins’ birthday party outside. A dozen of their friends from elementary school were over for swimming and cake and presents.
Old Farmer Massey
Old Farmer Massey paced about the barn, circling his lantern and singing. “In the spring the seeds I plant, and in the summer they grow... for each seed a secret in the heart, for each seed its own scarecrow.”
My hand shakes signing the agreement, and my signature looks so bad I ask the nurse if I should do it over. She smiles and says it’s fine, then escorts me through the lobby, where nervous folks sit under the high glass ceiling waiting for their consultations. I had mine a month ago.
My Uncle Chip married Jesse’s mom when I was six and he was seven. They divorced when he was eleven. Between then, if you’d asked me who my best friend was, I might’ve said Jesse. At least the first three years or so.
The walls at camp are covered in mounts. An elk, a coyote skin, two lacquered rattlesnakes, at least fifteen buck. When I was twelve years old, they started dipping the skulls in paint before mounting them, dyeing the bone beneath the antlers. One of my pap’s is a tie-dye orange and green. One of my brother’s is blueish chrome. It’s strange to see the deep round eye-hollows staring through anything but the color of bone. I think, “At least let it be dead.”