Wednesday, May 1, 2013
with nowhere else to go, nowhere better to be, took up residence on the cove after the summer people left to become winter people and exchanged one big house on the sea nestled in pines for another big house on the sea nestled in palms.
she snuck across the frost-hardened, moonlit lawn and began her extended stay as an icy wind off the water knocked the thermometer down so low it could barely lift itself above freezing. her name, inaccurate. no longer golden haired but a life-beaten gray—where-oh-where had the years gone?—she wintered over, invisible in plain sight, constructing a just-right nest of comforters in the smallest bed in the smallest room of the house.
ms. locks made it her policy to eat only one non-perishable or frozen food item per day from the well-stocked pantry and freezer. but first, with a gusto she hadn't felt since last year, she took two weeks to consume—with great ceremony, shoveling in a handful here, a handful there—with vigorous displays of open-mouthed chomping—and, it might be added, an inspired, spit-flying smacking of lips—one satisfying bag of doritos and three of potato chips and two of oreo cookies; then, as always, she proceeded to melt skewered marshmallows over the vulcan hart range, sandwiching them appreciatively between graham crackers and chocolate bars.
but soon her time was up. before summer came, she vanished again, leaving hardly a trace of herself. the single person aware of her phantom presence was a child—the young granddaughter of the owners. upon arrival, and after experiencing a few nonplussed moments, the little girl administered her annual correction: she grabbed her teddy bear, who, for yet another winter, had been subjected to sleeping against the wrong pillow! in the wrong bed! in the wrong room! tucked him in her own bed, and whispered the tender question. she and her stuffed companion heard the words and were braced by them turning over and over again in silent, swirling echoes against the four walls—do you still love me best, me best, me best....?