the funeral, after the lowering of the casket and the gloomy tea and
by near-strangers in black, Cynthia settles into the now-empty house,
away by her niece and nephew, a tuna casserole sitting in the freezer. She found it
seeing all those faces she had only known through wedding and baby
invitation to a divorce party, her own correspondence a steady streak
walks from the kitchen to the living room and pauses.
She realizes that this will
life now: endless shuffling from one empty room to the next. Inside the living room, she
a pile of blankets someone had removed from the hall closet and
ottoman. Perhaps they had forgotten that she
dead yet, that they would have to wait
they could paw through her things like at an antique shop, hunting for
picks up the first blanket, a green and white lambswool that smells of
dust. She drapes it over the couch and
picks up the next, a flowered afghan with a large
their black lab Bailey had chewed in anxiety when they first moved into
told her husband she didn’t want children, he said that was fine:
just have a lot of
dogs. Their last dog, Bartleby, an Airedale Terrier
with a bark that sounded like an old man
his throat, had died a week before her husband.
walks to the hall closet where she finds a needle and thread. These she uses to
stitch together the blankets into a kind of tapestry.
She pulls three wooden chairs from
dining room and drapes the tapestry over them.
After she finishes, she climbs inside.
from her lamp glows round against the fabric, lighting her small space
and white and
she and her husband were newly married and moved into their first
she had walked into the small, dirty space and seen the scuffed gray
on the ceiling, the peeling linoleum floors, and she had sat on the
had pulled their powder blue sheets from the box marked Bedroom, taken
main room, and draped them over
a couple of chairs the previous tenants had left behind.
took her hand and gently led her inside the makeshift fort. The space was small and
with the heat from their bodies, and she could not see beyond the
slept there that first night, surrounded by blue.
she sits underneath her own makeshift fort, watching the heavy blankets
to see how long they can withstand their own collapsing.