It was a miracle the car didn’t leek. Light green Honda with centuries on the road, a pile-on of
debris in every crevice. It smelled moist, like the water outside was just a molecule away from
She sat still and thought about this while waiting. There wasn’t much else to think about. The
windshield was battling the rain and the darkness so nothing could be seen on the other side.
Squee-squee, squee-squee. She thought about the rusty springs on their mattress at home; the
spot in the corner that jabbed her back if she didn’t turn the right way. Legs pressed against his.
She thought about the moist smell in their tiny bathroom. How she scrubbed the black spotted
tiles. Foamed up with cleaner but still wiped away gritty.
The car itself was settled over with dust. She didn’t care to clean this place that didn’t belong to
her, anyway. The thought only crossed her mind in quiet moments like these where she sat,
waiting. Captured in a tenuous membrane.
If something happened. If someone came for her. If he never came back? There was nothing she
could do because she couldn’t drive. He was the driver. It was always okay like that.
A figure emerged in the headlights, faintly. A black squid floating towards her through the sea of
rain. Her hearing was dulled by the wipers and the heater and the rain. The thump thump of her
He slouched towards the car, she could see that now. A shape, a hat. Things that weren’t his. You
can tell after spending a decade with a person, even when they're washed-out of all senses. It
wasn’t him, the gait of his walk was too wide. The tap of his hand on the window, too soft. A
stranger to a stranger.
She didn’t know how to drive, didn’t have the keys. The knock was a question and in the
proceeding silence was her space to reply. A bubble floating to the surface, ready to pop.
His chair was empty. No one chose to sit in it as the party buzzed along and sitting seemed
unrequired. Maybe someone had sat there earlier, one of the first arrivals. It was much more
comfortable than all the other chairs, including the squat bench she was perched upon now. But it
was such a large lounger that it didn’t really allow you to get close to anyone else.
When he was here, that chair was a throne. He’d perch one leg on the armrest and proclaim
loudly his theories about the rest of us. The party would form a circle around his position. It
always gave you somewhere to look.
She sipped the sweet bottom: rum and coke, no lime. They didn’t have any lime. He would have
A woman’s loud laugh pierced the far corner to the right. She didn’t know her, she’d never seen
her here before. The people changed in slow trickles, never all at once, so it always kind of felt
the same. The chair never moved, it’s shape still centred but the bodies pointed away.
She imagined him on another chair, at another party. Drawing voices to him in a circle. So easy
to get everyone to listen. Like each matter was a simple debate with pros and cons.
She finished the last sweet drops then deposited the cup in the centre of the chair’s blue cushion,
upright. Paused, then tipped it to the side and walked away.
A sprinkler in the high end of its arch. A child underneath: pink bathing suit, matted long hair,
running. Her face is turned away.
A fence, tall and white. A bush growing high with raspberries. Red gems reaching for the sun in
soft sway. A woman in a blue hat hidden in the growth on the other side. Hands busy, head
A dog with black fur, red bandanna. Barking playfully and catching the sprinkles as they fall.
Eyes on the girl.
A hand in front of you, busy. A hand in front of you tense. An eye that glistens with threat from
the comfort of your own patio chair. It comes only when the others are not looking. A fear they
think unexplained by the external. A looming arch fed to a sad core that grows, blossom-like, in
Angela Caravan is a settler on unceded Coast Salish territory (Vancouver, BC), and writes both poetry and fiction. She is the author of the micro-chapbook Landing (post ghost press). Her work has also appeared in Broken Pencil, Pulp Literature, Sad Mag, and more. You can find her on Twitter at @a_caravan.
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