Monday, December 23, 2013

Still Here

She’d looked out that window her whole life, imagined her father holding her up minutes after she popped out—her mother’s words: You just popped out, I was so grateful—imagined her father holding her up to the window and saying, There, that’s it. What you’ll see of the world.  Ain’t it beautiful?
It was beautiful. She knew that, had never tried to convince herself otherwise. The rise of the hillock in the distance, the ring of pine trees her granddaddy planted at the end of the yard, Fairy Ring, he’d called it. “It’s where the wee people live,” he claimed, and she believed him.
There had been times when she saw tiny footprints on top of the snow or a flash of red darting under a leaf. They were there—elves, leprechauns, the little people—who knew what they called themselves? She called them Smoke now, because she hadn’t seen their traces in ages and was beginning to doubt the old stories. Regret can do that.
She should have moved at least once, lived somewhere else, but roots are deep—Granddaddy again—that’s what feeds us.
Well. She had been to Chicago once, had stayed in a hotel, knew what it was to wake without seeing the sun rise, and didn’t like it all that much.
But still. 

    A wave of regret swept through her. She’d always been here, lived here, woke up here, went to bed here, looked out this window. Here.
Birthdays did this to her, brought her to the window where she’d first looked out on the world, and here she was again—90 years later—the oldest person in the history of the family and still here.

Well, that was a thought to be glad about. She took a last look out the window and saw the streak of red—two of them, pointed hats and all—darting over the snow. Still here.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


He went fishing alone. She watched him push the boat out, climb in, sway in the sudden thrust of a wave, stagger to the end, sit down too hard, pull on the old motor. Three hard pulls before it caught. Engine noise. Big racket.
            When the mergansers fishing in the bay fluttered up and away at the sound, she stepped back from the window. Into the little house. The cabin. To do . . . what?
            He’d invited her. “Want to go out this morning?” he’d said, she in her pink quilted bathrobe, he in his green turtle neck, flannel shirt, rain jacket under his arm, tackle box at the door, two poles in his hand. “Nice morning out there.”
            They’d both looked out at the lake. She had to see what he saw—smooth water, almost a glass-off, three female mergansers fishing in the bay, the sun up, the maple on the shore an explosion of gold.
            “Beautiful from the boat,” he had said. “Beautiful to see the cabin from the boat.”
He saw the slight movement of her head, thought he heard no. Her arms hugged her narrow body, her face still turned to the window, turned to the lake, to the newly risen sun, to the brilliant maple, but away from him. “No,” she said in an almost normal voice. Clear this time. Sure.
He had to ask. Thought the roll of the boat would soothe her in a way that he couldn’t. Didn’t seem able to. Didn’t know how to. Nothing right between them, and he didn’t know why.
Didn’t know how to ask.
He swung the boat around parallel to the shore, so he could see the cabin, cut the motor, and dropped the anchor. He baited his hook and cast it high and wide, a beautiful cast. He hoped she saw it. He looked at the cabin, but it was too far to see anything behind the black window. Too far. He strained for a glimpse of pink, of her watching him look for her, but it was too far. Too far.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

Monday, November 25, 2013

Birthday Wishes

            Spent my birthday in prison. Again. How many years? The same bars. Different guy in the next cot. At least this one isn’t crazy, sick, schizo. Said “Happy birthday” when I told him.
            Rich kid. White collar crime. Has manners. Is polite. Reads some. Doesn’t talk. Well, yes, he talks, but what’s he going to say? Have a nice day. Looks like rain from our peep hole to the sky. What’s your position on Obama care? All our health care needs are taken care of. That’s one thing about being in rather than out. Full service government health care plan. Food plan too if you are on a carbohydrate diet. Fry this. Fry that. Protein? Bologne and American cheese. All American cheese.
            Cheez, no wonder he doesn’t have much to say.
            Glad he’s not a shouter.
            I was a shouter once. Rattled the cage like a gorilla. Was so pissed. Scared. Lonely. Terrified. Yelled and cursed until they put me in the hole. Which shut me up. When was that? 20 birthdays ago? 30? Who’s counting? Well, I am, but nobody else. I’m 57 years old, a writer now, not a talker. Wrote my cellie a note. My birthday, I wrote.
            He looked surprised. Real expression on his face, and I would say a tear in his eye, but hard to say. The light isn’t that good, but he’s young—20 something. In here with an old guy celebrating his birthday. How sad is that? Would make me tear up if I still could. Which I can’t.
            Which is good.
            Is there anyway to say Happy Birthday without saying happy?
            Maybe glad you’re still here another year. I am glad about that, not happy, but relieved. Yes, that’s it.
            Relieved not to be dead. Dying in prison, the ultimate shame that keeps me knocking off the birthdays. Once I’m out, I can die free.
            That’s what I want for my birthday. The promise of a good death.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


            Their relationship consisted
            In discussing if it existed.[1]

            “I don’t want to talk about it,” she said.
            “What?” he said. “You always want to talk about it.”
            “Not now,” she said.
            “Why not now?” he said. “Because I want to. Talk about it. Now.”
            “No,” she said. “Not now.” She didn’t say “because I’m busy,” but she busied herself with the nail file, smoothing and shaping her long pinkie nail that caught on everything: his sweater, the cushions on the sofa, even on the dish towels so she couldn’t dry the dishes. He once suggested she cut it, but she didn’t seem to hear him—a better explanation than that she ignored his perfectly reasonable, sensible, and practical request.
            “It’s just common sense,” he had said.
            “Yes, common,” she had said and continued curating the nail. It was the only one she painted. My mark of distinction and she turned to it in times of stress. Like now. He didn’t really want to talk about it, it being their relationship, not the damnable fingernail, but he knew that was what adults did—talk about it—that’s what she always said—how mature; let’s talk about it.
            So there he was, exposed, ready to talk and she wasn’t—couldn’t? Wouldn’t? Who knew? He thought she was always ready to talk. There were times—so many times—when the words poured out of her, geysered out, and covered him with their heat and stench, words, words, words, and he had to close his eyes and cover his ears. Hiding, she said.
            Yes, that was right. But no more. No more hiding. He was ready. “Let’s just talk.” Emphasis on “just.”
            Her head bobbed as he said that, so she heard him, so he said it again and her head bent over the one damn nail (his private name for it), bobbed again, and he saw that the file was wet, her hands were wet, and when he touched her chin and turned her face towards his, her face was wet, silent tears falling across that incredible skin, that beautiful face that he did, in fact, love.
            Nothing to talk about there.
            “I love you,” he said and took her face in his two hands so she had to look at him, wet face, eyes cupping those tears that rose so easily. “I love you,” he said again, “and we don't have to talk about it.”
            “What! What happened to this story?” she said. “I thought you were going to break my nail and make me talk.”
            “I meant to,” he said. “I really did, but then . . ." He shrugged, mute. 
            “But then I cried," she said and went back to sharpening the damn nail.

©2013 Kathleen Coskran

[1] Thom Gunn

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


            She says she’s tired, but not sick, not really. “Oh, no. Just a little cough, a sniffle, but I’m fine, just fine. Feeling great!” That’s what she says, then hunches over her crossword, alone at a table across the room.
            She doesn’t look great, but then she never did. That’s what we whisper to each other. She was a plain child, we remember. Never a pretty woman. “Probably a fussy baby,” Fran says, and we laugh.
“Hard, must be hard to be so . . . so . . . plain,” Ellen says, and we all cluck sympathetically.
            Cluck. I think that’s the right word for what we do. The perfect word. Exactly right.           
            Cluck. Cluck. Cluck.
            But quietly. Kindly. Almost.
            “She really doesn’t look at all well,” Marge says.
            “But then,” begins Ellen.
            “She never did,” I finish and laugh with the others. I want to be in, not out, and I too was never a pretty woman. Professional, Ellen calls me. You look best in a suit. I notice she doesn’t say I look good in a suit.
            But she looks like a Halloween jester in a suit, like a char lady in a dress, a scarecrow in pants, and she would never wear jeans.
            We can hear her muffled cough at the next table, Kleenex to her mouth, other hand at her
forehead. We’re all watching her, waiting for her to look our way so we can nod sympathetically. Maybe one of us will smile before we go back to our clucking, and she to her crossword.
            I’m ashamed, but I don’t do anything. 

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


She was tired, and he was not. He walked fast; she strolled. He looked ahead; she looked down. They were clearly incompatible. It was obvious in the coffee shop a week ago. Their first meeting. Even though their personals ads were almost identical. His: Straight m seeks humor and ice cream. Hers: Straight f seeks stories and root beer floats.
            They met at Izzy’s. He was eating a double cone, raspberry chocolate swirl with mint jalapeño when she arrived. He waved her over as soon as she bought the float.
            “I’d know you anywhere.” His first words. Then he offered her a taste of his cone before she could speak.
            So it had been easy—too easy—“So easy it scares me,” she told Rachel. “I don’t know what to do with a nice man.”

            And now it was raveling. She could hardly keep up. He was almost running—his sandals slapping on the path as he plowed up the hill. “Come on! Come on,” he called. He had an unusual lightness for a big man. The passion for ice cream showed itself on his body: the belly, the big arms, the round face.
“Yes, he’s fat, but he’s so . . .”
“. . . nice.” Rachel finished the sentence for her.

            The root beer floats (diet root beer) didn’t show on Ana. She had the waist of a damselfly, the flutter of a moth, the radiance of a dragonfly—his words. “My butterfly,” he’d said that first day when she sat down at his table.
            “Beauty needs a taste,” he’d said and held the cone out. She touched it to her tongue—thinking pistachio, blinked at the cool jalapeño burn, then smiled without meaning to. Nobody had ever called her beautiful before.

            “He’s fat, I’m not beautiful, not fun, I get tired . . .”
            “Do you like him?”
            “Well, yes. I told you. He’s nice.”

            One more time—Rachel’s rule, a last date, just a little walk, so here she was trudging to catch up with the nicest man who’d ever liked her. The only man.
            Where was the problem?
            Lot’s of problems, she thought, and was about to list them, but now they were at the top of the hill, and he was smiling and holding out his hand to her.
            She sighed and took it.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


            The letter was separating along the folds and the slight pressure of his fingers had thinned the paper in the swirls of his fingerprint. He wondered if a magnifying glass—or microscope—x-ray—would reveal how many times he had unfolded the pale blue paper, held it in one hand, steadied it with the second when it fluttered, flitted, nearly blew away.
            Why paper so thin, nearly transparent when he first read it and now, nearly gone. The words in her odd green ink hadn’t faded. They were still sharp and clear. Her round hand with its perfect Os, curving V, long, long L. She was proud of that hand. No artist in my family, she said once, but we all can write.
            Modestly. Her hallmark. She could write. Her mother had no time for foolishness and her father, he suspected, couldn’t. He’d seen the old man flip open the newspaper, scan the pictures, snort politics and pass it to her mother.
            “You rescued me,” she said once, and he knew it to be true.
            Then she unrescued herself. He’d even said, “What about the rescue?” but she didn’t hear him, didn’t seem to hear, pretended not to hear, left. Left. She left.
            Left the letter—his letter, not hers.
            Dearest, she had written—didn’t use his name—her natural reticence—or was it a form letter? A new thought that shamed him. Of course not.
            Dearest, she had written. Yes, okay, yes, I will. Something crossed out. He’d tried to read it over the years, scraped off so much ink that it was now a hole in the paper. I will marry . . . Big space. Marry who? She didn’t say. He saw that now. All these years and just now, today, he sees that she didn’t say who she intended to marry.
            What about “dearest?”
            She signed it, Respectfully, S.
            Modesty, he thought at the time. Made him love her more. Want her more.
            Now he saw her cowardice. And crumpled the letter.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


            She stuffed her hands in her armpits. Freezing to death, she said, then pulled them out and tried to press them against his warm belly, under his shirt, but he was too fast—the belly and he were gone, in the next room, disappeared before she could get to him. He knew her.
            She didn’t pursue. Pursuit’s not my game, she yelled. Coward, she yelled. Next time, she yelled. Then he heard the buzz of the microwave heating—probably boiling—her day old coffee. Disgusting.
            She had no standards. Ate old food, put on whatever in the morning, would have gone to work in her slippers if he hadn’t stopped her.
            But I work at home, she had said.
            Yes, but you can’t really be effective unless you are properly dressed.
            Properly dressed, she said, echoing his inflection perfectly and taking his advice to heart, he hoped. He did notice she had on clogs, not his first choice, but better than slippers and more expensive. He knew that. Who do you think wrote out the checks, kept clear, readable records of all their accounts, knew the location of every penny coming in, saved, and going out? It’s what she liked, no, loved about him, she said. The orderliness.
            I can look at my calendar and my watch, she said and know where you are and what you are doing.
            In a momentary loss of control, he had said, “And you like that?”
            “Yes,” she had beamed. “You are my exotic.”
            And she was his—the exotic creature he’d never understand, so much his opposite that she left him spinning more often than he’d ever admit, but interested, oh, so interested in everything about the exotic creature who refused to take his name, but embraced everything else, his sound, his look, his taste, his touch. Oh, yes, his touch, everything, everywhere except her cold little hands on his warm belly.
            Even exotics have to be controlled.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chatter Chatter

            Turn the lights on. That’s all he said, all I remember, and then he was gone.
            “I got up, fumbled for my slippers, my robe, the switch, turned the lights on and saw I was alone. I hadn’t heard a door open or close—missed in the mumble for my slippers and robe, I guess, but I was alone.
            “I looked in every room. Didn’t take long. You can see it’s a small house. He was gone. I was there alone.
            “So. What? I sat down to think, wrapped my robe tighter to collect myself, hold myself in. The bathrobe he gave me last Christmas. No. Two years ago. 2011. Yes, that’s it.
            “Surprised me. Perfect color. My favorite deep blue.
            Like your eyes, he said. That’s all. He was never one for much talk or conversation. Left that to me, he said.
            Guess I talk enough for 2, I said.
            Or 3. Our son, like him, not much conversation.”
She reties the robe, smiles. Just enough.
“Just the right amount. Not like me. Talk talk talk.” She laughs again.
How do you know what to say? our son once said.”
            “And he said, before I could explain, he said, She doesn’t have to say anything. It’s just chatter chatter chatter.”
Bright smile—tears. “He was right. We all knew it. Chatter chatter chatter.”
            A laugh. “At least I’m good at it. Got to be good at something. I’m good at talk.”
            Stands up. Reties the robe again. “Well, sorry for calling you in the middle of the night, Officer, but the way he left like that—an old man.
“No, he won’t be back. Look. Everything gone. Turn the lights on. That’s what he meant, turn the lights on and look. “
The closet door gapes; the closet half-empty.
            “I’m sorry for calling you. Really. Nothing to do. I know. No crime committed. I’ll go back to bed. Sorry. I’m sorry. Just needed somebody to talk to, but that’s not your job, is it?”


Monday, August 19, 2013

Not Mine

            “Here. This must be yours,” he said and thrust a pen at her. “Not mine.” He hoisted his pack to his shoulder and backed out the door, grinning that dimpled smile he had. She was sure he practiced it in the mirror—backing out, not taking his eyes off her, holding them both steady as he escaped—her word, not his—but how else to describe his departure?
            He didn’t like stuff—furnishings, decorations, the detritus of being alive, wouldn’t buy anything he couldn’t carry in one hand, although she did notice he slept in her big bed after all the high jinks—his word, not hers—slept like a baby, smooth-faced, breath almost inaudible—clear, clean. When he woke up, he was up, moving, splashing water in the bathroom, humming as he shaved.
            She liked the extra five minutes in bed, the rolling over on her pillow, the last warmth of the night still in the blankets. Sometimes he jumped on her when he was done, sprawled across her curled body, smelling of mint and soap and aftershave—and they played and wrestled until she was awake and shivering. “Get up,” he’d say and she would.
            It was different this morning. She knew he was in the bathroom, heard the run of water, saw the line of light under the door, but heard no humming, and knew before it didn’t happen that there would be no leap on the bed, no early morning tussle.
            Nothing. It was over. Backpack packed. He was going, going, gone, backed out the door and gone.
            Afraid to say it. Well, that was good. Some emotion stirred, fear if not regret. And she had to admit, he left her something: a pen. Blue and silver. somebody’s logo on the side—Twin City
Orthopedics—and a number to call when she felt broken again.

© 2013 Kathleen  Coskran

Monday, August 12, 2013

Old Friends Dance

            We are old friends. Long-time friends, she'd say, old that way, not the other. I don’t care. Old friends, long-time friends, childhood friends—all the same to me.
            And we were—are—old in spite of her quick disclaimer and all those sit-ups. We are old friends and know the other’s secrets, wishes, gifts, faults and sins—the whole catastrophe—as Zorba said in another context.
            We were young enough to have danced like Zorba on the beach—our first holiday alone,
without parents. We spread our blanket on the hard sand, the tide on its way out, shed our cover-up and danced. Slowly at first, choosing the steps carefully—she humming softly, then louder as I picked up the pace, both of us finger to thumb, bounding across the sand in imitation of a Mexican actor being Greek, being free and passionate and young. I said young, but Zorba wasn’t young. It was we who were young and caught up in passion, not youth. We learned better than Basil, the young awkward man, took it to heart, felt the passion. 
            And then forgot it all in the tumult of marriage, babies, work, meetings—oh, god, the meetings, going here, there. Forgot it all until now. Not young. We are old friends, and if I say the word, she’ll stand slowly, but upright, raise her arms, curve her arthritic finger to her thumb and start the song.
            I’ll start the dance, and she’ll join me. We’re not on the beach, but we can still dance.
            Oh, yes, we still dance.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


            A summer cold. Who the hell got a summer cold? The very name was an affront—an oxymoron. Summer was hot. Cold by definition was for winter. A summer cold was both a mistake and an accusation, as if he were less than he should be, weaker, inept, inexperienced, advancing into dotage somehow, although at 27, the right side of 30, he liked to say, he clearly was not.
            Sabena asked him if he’d been out in the sun—his nose was that red.
            Clarice wondered if there’d been a family emergency—the red eyes.
            Jessica wondered if he was dieting—the scrawny neck.
            “No, a summer cold,” he croaked, his ruffled voice forcing its way through clogged sinuses.
            “Oh, sorry,” Sabena said as she backed away. (Yes, she literally backed away, then turned and ran.)
            Clarice nodded sympathetically, “Poor baby,” she muttered. “You should take better care of yourself.”
            “It’s not my fault,” he said and an hour later repeated it to Jessica when she said, “Oh, yuck!” and covered her lovely mouth with the smooth hand he had yet to hold.
            “Not my fault,” he said for the third time. “It’ll pass.” He tried to relax. He knew tension made his neck ropey and thin and hunched his shoulders around his chest.
“Feeling better already,” he said and was going to say something like “looking at you would make anybody . . . “ or should he say any man, emphasizing his maleness? No, he should say, being with you—emphasis on you—or should he speak her name specifically? Probably. He started again. “Just being near you, Jessica, would make any man feel better.” Good.
            “Especially this man,” he said. Better.
            But it was too late. She’d scooped up her papers as he was talking—well, whispering adenoidedly—they were in the library—and she was ten feet away by the time he got it all out.
            She did turn and give the little tata wave women like her had perfected, which meant she’d heard the man part of his speech. He hoped.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Good Questions

            Why are fire hydrants red?
            I don’t know. I google it, tell him they’re red to get his attention. He laughs, goes on to the next question.  Why,  he says, big smile as if he knows he has me on this one, do planes fly?
            I laugh. I know the answer, and it’s not what he thinks, not gobbledygook about lift, thrust, and drag.  They fly, I say, because they are on a schedule. People depend on them. People have to go from here to there, and when an air traffic controller says go, the plane goes.
            He nods. My answer satisfies him as I knew it would. He is seven-years-old and likes explanations that border on logic and reasonableness. Even though his questions sometimes bend towards science, he is a sociologist by instinct and hates it when I google for the answer.
            So, he says, staring at the gray trail of exhaust in the sky, Why is the plane so loud?  He covers his ears. Really loud . . . like thunder.
            Air displacement? I think. My thumb goes to the phone. Or is it just the rumble of the engine we hear? Now I’m interested. I want to know, and he is waiting quietly because the plane is gone now, out of sight, out of sound.
            I pocket my phone, look at him, look at the sky, the now empty sky, and the park we are standing in, the grassy park.  It has to be noisy, I say,  so you know it is there.
            To make me look up?
            Yes, I say.  To make you look up.
            Big smile. Like the birds, he says.
            The birds?
            They sing, and I see them.
            He’s running now. A thrush called to him, and he’s looking for her, running to see her, and then he’ll ask me why her wing is brown or how many bones in a bird’s foot or why does snow melt when it gets warm, and I’ll say so you can ask me questions—and he’ll laugh that little boy laugh and take my hand, and we’ll go home.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


          The street is her only entertainment. She sits at the window with her cup of tea. Fragile cup with saucer, faded flowers circle the rim. I don’t see the saucer, but imagine the soft plop of cup finding its place after each careful sip. Mustn’t spill. Mustn’t seem greedy or eager. Mustn’t hurry. Nothing to hurry for.
            I wonder if she thinks that or knows that. Nothing to hurry for. Nothing.
            I nod and wave as I pass. Her thin cup rises slowly, return greeting, then I am gone, hurrying to the bus. A little late. Always a little late. Much to hurry for, hurrying towards my day, my life. I have a life.
            I can’t forget her today. Can’t shake the image of the old woman at the window. Don’t even know her name, this neighbor of mine, yet she has become the most familiar face on the block.
            There every morning. Watching. Waiting. For what? The parade of dog walkers, school kids, commuters, runners, bikers, a car on our quiet street now and then?


            She toasts us every morning with the gin in her teacup, toasts us as we hurry to the treadmill of work, school, life, toasts us, and when we’re safely dispatched, she rises, not as slowly as we think, rises from her chair at the window, feeds her mewling cat—all witches have cats, don’t they? I glimpsed hers at the window once, or the swish of a tail, a cat’s tail, at least.
            She and the cat go out the back way, down the alley, stopping at every trash can and recycling barrel, gathering eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog, whatever, for the potions in that cup. Which isn’t gin after all. Certainly not tea. Something hallucinatory, peyote, LSD, some
concoction known only to her
            Back at the house by lunch time, to mix the potions, get it right and ready for the next morning of casting her spell on me as I hurry past, pity caught in my throat my arm raised dutifully to salute the old lady I know nothing about.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

Saturday, June 29, 2013


            The owl moves soundlessly through the trees, displacing air, setting branches into motion in the quiet of doing what she knows how to do without thought.
            I almost wrote without conscious thought, but that’s not it. Not right. The owl is conscious, supremely conscious, perfectly in touch with the soft animal of her body. (Thank you, Mary Oliver.) She is conscious, but lacks anxiety, the consciousness of being conscious, of thinking, thinking, thinking, of agonizing over a decision. 
        Imagine the anxious owl. Okay, today I wlll drift soundlessly (almost) through the woods, dive for the first rodent I see. She spies a mouse. Is it the best mouse, the fattest? Is it ethical to eat a living, breathing creature? a formerly alive creature? A creature like me? Why can’t I be satisfied with seeds, like the chickadee or nectar like the bee? Then the owl laughs at her own absurdity. How would she look hovering in a bed of zinnias? She’d have to eat the whole flower to get the drop of nectar. Ridiculous, she thinks. I’ll eat the mouse, but by then the mouse is gone, and not only does she feel stupid for even considering going after nectar or sunflower seeds, she’s still hungry and thus anxious.
            See what I mean? The owl is spared, or spares herself, all that. She’s an owl, riding the waves of air, eating what she eats, living her life.
            Wise, wise owl.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


            I can hear her crashing around downstairs, in the kitchen, opening cupboards, letting them slam closed, dropping something on the floor—sounds like a spoon or maybe that long-handled knife, dull as a toothbrush, but a wedding present from somebody’s aunt, who knows whose—well, she does. She remembers stuff like that. Personal trivia, I call it, so insignificant that nobody else knows or cares or can check up on when she says, oh, yes, that candy dish—who has candy dishes anymore—that candy dish came from Sylvia’s house. She wrapped it up for our wedding, didn’t think I’d notice.  Here she would laugh knowlingly, to let you know she noticed everything, every little thing, every goddamned little thing. Nothing escaped her.
            Another crash downstairs. More like a thump. Something big out of her hands now. The toaster? A loaf of frozen bread? Meat she’s thawing for the dinner I’ll cook?
When I ask her she’ll look at me with those wide girl eyes, bluer than the day I met her, magnified by the specs and say, “What, My Love? I didn’t drop anything.”
            I could point out the wet spot on the floor or the shards depending on what it is—but I won’t. What, My Love? says it all.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran