Issue 231, Winter 2019
There isn’t much in the house,” Mary said. “I’m sorry.”
Kayla looked around, shrugged. “I’m not even that hungry.”
Mary set the table, bright Fiestaware on place mats alongside fringed cloth napkins. They ate microwave pizzas.
“Gotta have something a little fresh,” Mary’s boyfriend, Dennis, said cheerily, heaping spinach leaves from a plastic bin onto his pizza. He seemed pleased by his ingenuity. Kayla ate the spinach, took a few bites of crust. Mary poured her more water.
When Kayla asked for a beer, she saw Mary and Dennis glance at each other.
“Sure, sweetie,” Mary said. “Dennis, do we have any beer? Maybe check the garage refrigerator?”
Kayla drank two over dinner, then a third out on the porch, her legs tucked up into the oversize hoodie she had taken from Mary’s son’s room. The wildness of the backyard made everything beyond it look fake: the city skyline, the stars. Reception was awful this high in the canyon. She could try to walk closer to the road again, out by the neighbor’s fence, but Mary would notice and say something. Kayla could feel Dennis and Mary watching her from inside the kitchen, tracking the glow of her screen. What would they do, take her phone away? She searched Rafe’s name, searched her own. The numbers had grown. Such nightmarish math, the frenzied tripling of results, and how strange to see her name like this, stuffing page after page, appearing in the midst of even foreign languages, hovering above photos of Rafe’s familiar face.