Friday, December 24, 2010

My Dead Labrador Retriever Visits in the Form of a Hostess

Then, around 8 that morning, I saw the big woman in our garden. She lay between the mounds of snow in a red cocktail dress, her shoulders exposed, the thin straps of her dress biting into her fat white shoulders. I couldn't see her face; she was lying with her back to the window, using her arm as a pillow. She wore scuffed, high-heeled silver sandals -- her legs crossed at the ankles. I stuck my forehead against the glass, hoping to see more. The glass was cold and comfortable against my skin, but after half an hour, my head started to ache. The ache had a beat, in/out. I breathed against the glass and drew an outline of the woman in the steam. I put on my slippers, and then my large, tan, puffy coat, still stained from last week's dog puke. The woman didn't move when I squatted and poked her with a hanger. I touched her shoulder and she felt hot, like frying pan hot. She sighed and rolled over, and said, without opening her eyes, "Nevermind. I was just trying to see if the door was really alarmed."

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