Her father’s only success this week had been in the beer he bought her and
even then, she wasn’t sure he bought it solely for her or even for them, or whether
he bought it for himself and she was just an almost silent afterthought. He called her
out to the shed as an evening rain moved in and, holding a sweaty glass bottle, said,
here! then smiled. She knew he used to smile like that more often, but not in her
lifetime. A dead man lingered inside of him.
She said, Thanks. And then they sat in silence for what could only have
been a few moments, until it began to rain. She wanted to look him in his eyes and
say, things aren’t like they used to be. But she realized things had never been like
they used to be. She blamed him for the stasis and then the exigency over 782 miles.
She blamed herself for all things failed. She almost disappeared once. Her therapist
told her she should never drink.
Either way she took a sip of her warming beer, leaving her dad sitting in the
shed. She headed back to the house with an aching in her bones for drunkenness.
She opened the door and walked inside, her mother laughing in her recliner.