The alder is more beautiful dead than it was alive. When its leaves fell away, they revealed slender arms, silvery wrists of bark. Woodpeckers swoop and slip inside the craggy maw that has opened at the top of the tree. The birds are deepening the alder’s transformation. In death, it has opened itself up to the sky, and the birds have moved in.
When the door slammed, my sister wrapped her arms around my leg and cried. I eased her down to sit on my lap and rocked her until her shuddering breaths subsided. She poked her finger in my chest and said You-Boo. I nodded and hugged her tight—Yes, only me.
Gail has given Mother Nature a run for her money. Thirty pounds lighter than when she first conceived, she lifts weights on her lunch hour and kick-boxes after work three times a week. She’s had regular blood tests, ultrasounds, uterine surgery, two endometrial biopsies, and six cycles of Clomid.
Penelope wouldn’t have blamed her daughter for slipping outside to avoid the mortification of being commandeered as her grandmother’s wardrobe consultant, but her bet was that Jane would appear relatively fast. When you ignored Nanna, she got louder.
I slide over and place my ear onto his chest, hear life rushing from one chamber to the next. The strength and the sound of it startles me. How can I not hear it all the time? Across the room, across the house, even? How do I forget?