Glimpse


     I sat in the windowsill bathed in the metallic hum of insects. The night was alive and clung to everything like a sticky film. The air was sweet with mimosa or perhaps some unseen trophy of the dog’s lay rotting in the hedge. It was hard to tell, the heat seemed to magnify everything. My father sat on the porch below smoking a cigarette and whistling into his beer bottle, like a ship lost at sea. With each puff of his cigarette I could hear a tiny hiss and see the dim outline of his face. He seemed so far away, yet I was sure I could have spit on him from where I was perched.

     My mother was rustling about in the hall, as she did every Friday night before she went out. She started down the stairs, without the familiar jingle of her keys in hand, or the usual snap of her purse swallowing them into its worn leather belly. She paused briefly at the bottom of the stairs and then proceeded to the front door.

     The porch light flashed on and the screen door flung open. Fat white moths began hurling themselves into the glaring bulb with audible persistence. They both looked so faded in that harsh dome of light, my father seated in the adirondack and my mother standing near the railing.

     "I’m going now", she said as she slipped on her gloves, white kidskin, she’d had them since before I was born. She straightened her hat, the flowers hung loosely at the brim as if wilted, but artificial flowers don’t wilt they disintegrate. She stood looking at him for what seemed an eternity.

     My father sat motionless in his chair staring out into the dark. They remained like silent adversaries in a chess match until she walked off the porch, and out of the light. She seemed to melt into the night. I watched, as she became a tiny blur, like a glimpse of white marble on a moonlit night. Then she disappeared behind a curtain of willow branches. I could still hear the tiny click of her heels on the path.

     With a loud sigh my father got up from his chair and to the disappointment of the moths, he turned off the porch light. Now they would be once again lost in the dark. I went to sleep that night with my father’s lonely barge call echoing in my head.





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