Sidetracked



It stops here

Maudie keeps her box of wine in the window sill.
One cigarette after the next, she fondles the filter and talks about past lives. A time when she lived in the store front of a barber shop, then she lived in an army tent, and finally, lifetimes later, she had the family build this house for her. She had four daughters to raise.

Now she's alone in the A-frame beach house and time moves faster than it did back then.

Thick salt air winds through the house, resting on tables and cushions, leaving behind its film. You could lick the coffee table and taste the ocean.

Flashbacks pull me in and out, her raspy voice decorating their pauses.

I sat at the bar with my cousin P.K. She sliced kiwis in half, spooned out the fruit and fed them to me. Anna and I played with our Barbies on that couch. Maudie left cans of beer lined with salt on tables. When she wasn't looking I ran my tongue around their rims, savoring the taste. Mama pulled a sharp-edged sea shell out of my foot while Jenna held my hand. This house was filled with aunts and laughter. They were loud and beautiful and I wanted to be just like them.

Maudie talks about death; rather, what she wants to happen to her body after death. It's not scary or sad. I stare at the jars of sea glass sitting on shelves. She's not leaving anytime soon.

When you get there the waves roar. It's silent when you leave.

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