a fiction: Straight Answers


Your blog is confusing me.
I am not smart enough to hear what you
are saying.
For a few seconds, I feel relief,
like maybe your life is driving you mad, too.
But then I convince myself that your
life is wonderful, and all the hard stuff you write is fiction.
That’s it.
I can’t tell with you, what is real and what is not.

A:   Yes.



I can’t remember now if I put the children down to bed first, or not.  Not, I think.  Then I think, but I must have.  Nobody was crying when I left for one thing.  I told him, “I might come back.”  It was dark already.  There was no moon.  Only one car stopped, two guys in baseball caps, “Need some help?”

I shook my head, gestured toward the porch just up ahead, angling toward it, stooping halfway to move the sprinkler, stood at the corner of the porch until they were long past and then walked on.

A: Walking through the lawns of strangers like I live here.



Anyways, I did something crazy this weekend, and maybe you want to stick it in a book somewhere.  Make up a crazy character.

I drove myself all the way to PDX. Had the duffel bag and $2k in cash all
ready to go.  To where? That’s the best part……………….where ever the planes were going.  After sitting there for a while, the guilt got to me (like it ALWAYS does) and I slowly climbed back in my car and drove home.

I greet everyone with smiles and say the studying went well.

A: They have no idea I almost started a new life in Mumbai.



Along the road down by the horse pond and the pastures the locust trees were all in bloom.  Their scent spilling – actually, yes, spilling down through the air.  In the dark, trespassing right in front of the sign, I broke off sprays and sprays of blossom, tucked them into my collar, wreathed them around my hair.  Then kept walking, now in an aura of moony fragrance, a full-body halo of perfume.  2 miles, 3 miles.  It never got any darker.  It never got any lighter.  Sought relief in a stand of silver birch.  3 miles, 4 miles. Until a corner where I finally turned and then turned again and turned and turned until it was again my own road home.

Halfway up the hill, I was too tired to go on.  I just sank into the tall yellow grass and lay there.

Scheduled for hay, my neighbor had said yesterday, the mowers would be up next week sometime. Mountain lion, she’d told me, too, tracks and claw sharpenings up and down the trunks of trees down by the creek. I didn’t care, but lay down and slept in the bending grass, on a locust blossom pillow beneath cloudy stars until I got too cold.

I’d never felt so rested, climbing up the rest of the way home.  Smear of light smudging up over the eastern hills.

A:  I kept the locust spray beneath my pillow a long time afterwards.



So I just turned right around and walked back out, climbed into the barely emptied car. Opened wide the windows to lose the smell of three days of teenagers cooped up inside. I could hear them calling to each other from their rooms as I backed out. They sounded happy to be home, all unbeknowing. He had probably gone back already to his article revisions.

Which we’d interrupted, coming home. His week of quiet shattered with all our noise and baggage. Maybe he would notice I had gone some time tomorrow.

I drove. Past little houses with lighted windows, fields and white-flowered lawns, thinking what am I doing in this rust-blasted bomb again so soon?  And where in great-granny’s knickers do I think I’m going?

I could go back the three-days’ travel I’d just come?  –Too many explanations.

I could head downriver until I hit the first Help Wanted sign. Diner waitress, burger flipper, file clerk, night security, gas station attendant.

I hadn’t known I’d been looking for it, but came to a corner and knew I’d passed it.  Couldn’t say which one it had been,  but I knew suddenly that somewhere back there had been a happy kitchen.

A man had been leaning back against the kitchen counter with some metal workings in his hands, a little gray curling around his ears, smile lines like sunbursts at the corners of his eyes, dirt inked into his fingertips.  And a woman with her back to him, smiling down onto her hands, peeling peaches maybe, and then laughing.  Thin, of course, and beautiful in a worn and quiet way.  Good with horses, probably. Gentle.

A couple as unlike us in every way.

She turns to him and her slender hand cups the side of his face.

When I got back home he was waiting at the door, “Do you need help bringing in the bags?”

“No bags.”

“I thought maybe you went to the grocery store.”


“When you just left I thought maybe you’d forgotten something.”

A:  “I did.  But then I remembered it and came back home.”



4 thoughts on “a fiction: Straight Answers

  1. I loved this. Even though its a world I absoultely do not understand, never being in a position to long to be away from the rare human who occupies a piece of my mostly alone time. But I was drawn into it, feeling with the character, wanting to know what else she has to say. More please!!

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