It always happens at dusk. You’re late. A very long journey and your impatient thoughts begin to wander. You’re still far from the city and the road’s empty. The house rises from the landscape like a fishing boat on a slow swell and it’s gone almost before you notice. But in the story you’re telling yourself the light’s on and the side of a woman’s face holds motionless. She looks tired and you make up her life. It’s true and now she looks sadder. You must live with that.
You really must learn to be happier. For the sake of the friend you will soon visit who will remind you of this woman. But happier. And full of wonderful lies about her past. She knows how to put things behind her.
Her goldfish gulp the bubbles on the surface of the water. You imagine they’re hungry so you feed them. They eat and continue gulping bubbles. You wonder what their lives are like. Again you make it up and again it’s true. You begin laughing because you’ve never been happier. Your friend decides to tell you a sad story about her past. It’s true. The road’s empty. Waves slap against the hull of the house. When she laughs, you turn off the light. The side of her face looks soft and warm and motionless. Even in the dark as your hand parts the water and you begin rowing.
Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.