July 4, 2013




Bea pulled up her skirt. Lace panties. Tucked in her blouse. Drew a finger across her lips. Looked in the mirror. Everything presentable? Buttons straight. She loved her eyebrows. Lorded over them. They turned up at each end. Like an owl. On time. Like she was going to ask a question. Kept people on their toes. Made them feel… uneasy.

Make-up. A soft brush across the cheeks. A touch on the lips. Eye liner. Make the eyes look bolder. Powder on the nose. And the chin. Where a few days before she had spotted some migrant hairs. They were gone. Out of sight – out of mind. She thought for a moment. Who thought up that phrase. A phrase she enjoyed mulling over in her mind. It made her feel… thoughtless.

I dim all the lights and I sink in my chair.

Bea did a side step. Promenade. A fox trot out of the washroom, down the hall, and into the kitchen. Oh God, it feels great to be a woman. Who is light on her feet. If her appearance had matched her dancing, men would have thrown themselves at her. Size nines.

The smoke from my cigarette climbs through the air.

She turned the coffee maker on. It smelled like Artie Shaw.

The walls of my room fade away in the blue.

And popped some frozen pancakes into the microwave. Laid them out on Brian’s plate. Like corpses in a morgue. They would dry out. All he had to do was to pop them in the toaster. If he got up before noon. If he didn’t go out for lunch with his friends. If he didn’t… Bea shook her hair.

And I’m deep in a dream of you.

Rustling like leaves in the fall.

God, there is something crazy in the air.

Bea laughing. Out of the blue. Out of desperation. And her heart fluttered. Like a butterfly in her chest. She couldn’t continue to worry about her son. He was twenty-six years old. She moved. Two steps backward. Slowly. If only he could hold down a job. Quickly to the left. One step. Why was it so difficult to show up on time? Two steps forward. And then a promenade. And why did women have to dance backwards? Was it because men couldn’t manage it?

A smile gripped Bea’s face. Like a vice. She was no longer pretty. Maybe she never was. But she had been young. One time. And loved it. Carefree. Her hands in the air. Shaking her curly hair to Hendrix. Really mixing it up.

Bea stepped out of the house. Like she had a thousand times. After locking the door behind her, she stepped jauntily around to the driver’s side of her Honda. Sprightly. She smiled when the motor turned on. Dance lessons again that night. Where was she going to get the money to buy another car when the Honda finally kicked the bucket? Maybe she’d start taking cabs. And giggled.

Why didn’t we take out more life insurance, Mel? Bea smiled. Most of the students at the dance class were women. Men are such cowards. But still she loved to move around the floor. Even if it was in the arms of another women.

Mel wanted to take out much more insurance. As if he knew his days were numbered. And wouldn’t she have been in the peaches. If she had agreed. But she wanted to take dance lessons. She should have listened to Mel. Or was that just guilt? She was still alive. And where was Mel? On a couch somewhere. Up there. Watching television. Asleep.

Bea backed down the driveway and waited for the street traffic to break. She looked back at the house.

At least the mortgage is paid off.

Just as she was about to back into the street, she heard the bang. Like a midnight backfire. From some kid’s jalopy. And then the left side of the Honda sagged. Depressed. Giving up the spirit. She got out. Looked at the flat tire. Crossed her arms. And wished secretly that she could sing.

Taking out her cell phone she called the drug store to let them know that she would be late.

Late. Don’t know how late. But late.

She wondered if she could manage changing the tire by herself. Or should she call a service station? Or should she wake up her son and ask for his help? She shook her head.

No. I can’t face him this early in the morning. And opened the trunk of the car and took out the jack and the extra tire. I’ll have to go back and change.

Bea threw her arms up into the air and laughed.

“There is no God!” she cried. Took the jack and smashed in the front window of her… car.

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