Issue 79, Spring 1981
In the kitchen, he poured another drink and looked at the bedroom suite in his front yard. The mattress was stripped and the candy-striped sheets lay beside two pillows on the chiffonier. Except for that, things looked much the way they had in the bedroom—nightstand and reading lamp on his side of the bed, nightstand and reading lamp on her side.
His side, her side.
He considered this as he sipped the whiskey. The chiffonier stood a few feet from the foot of the bed. He had emptied the drawers into cartons that morning, and the cartons were in the living room. A portable heater was next to the chiffonier. A rattan chair with a decorator pillow stood at the foot of the bed. The buffed aluminum kitchen-set took up a part of the driveway. A yellow muslin cloth, much too large, a gift, covered the table and hung down over the sides. A potted fern was on the table, along with a box of silverware and a record-player, also gifts. A big console-model television set rested on a coffee table, and a few feet away from this. Stood a sofa and chair and a floor lamp. The desk was pushed against the garage door. A few utensils were on the desk, along with a wall clock and two framed prints. There was also in the driveway a carton with cups, glasses, and plates, each object wrapped in newspaper. That morning he had cleared out the closets and, except for the three cartons in the living room, all the stuff was out of the house. He had run an extension cord on out there and everything was connected. Things worked, no different from how it was when they were inside.
Now and then a car slowed and people stared. But no one stopped.
It occurred to him that he wouldn’t either.
“It must be a yard sale,” the girl said to the boy.
This girl and boy were furnishing a little apartment.
“Let’s see what they want for the bed,” the girl said.
“And the TV,” the boy said.
The boy pulled into the driveway and stopped in front of the kitchen table.
They got out of the car and began to examine things, the girl touching the muslin cloth, the boy plugging in the blender and turning the dial to MINCE, the girl picking up a chafing dish, the boy turning on the television set and making adjustments. He sat down on the sofa to watch. He lit a cigarette, looked around, and flipped the match into the grass. The girl sat on the bed. She pushed off her shoes and lay back. She thought she could see the evening star.
“Come here, Jack. Try this bed. Bring one of those pillows,” she said.
“How is it?” he said.
“Try it,” she said.
He looked around. The house was dark.
“I feel funny,” he said. “Better see if anybody’s home.”
She bounced on the bed.
“Try it first,” she said.
He lay down on the bed and put the pillow under his head.
“How does it feel?” the girl said.
“Feels firm,” he said.
She turned on her side and put her hand to his face.
“Kiss me,” she said.
“Let’s get up,” he said.
“Kiss me,” she said.
She closed her eyes. She held him.