Two Fictions
Darlin' Neal


He sat fiddling with the lace tablecloth, thinking, "All done." Realizing this. Out loud, he said, "My gal." He'd confessed too much all at once with no time to sort and explain. Light shone on the crystal on the table and hanging above him. He thought of treasure. How silent it was now, the chair across from him, empty. He wondered about the price he'd pay, what the fee was for illegal parking.


The thread just keeps coming, bundles of aqua in her palm. She wonders how much damage she's done to the sweater's shoulder seam, gets up, smoothes the wrinkles from her skirt and begins the climb up the steps to the light switch, to the mirror.
An alphabet block left by a grandchild almost trips her, so she watches her feet the rest of the way over the worn wood. She thinks of paths. She wishes for nimble fingers to fix her clothes, to knit the sweater back like it was. Standing on top of the stairs she hears the jingling of reigns. The sight of a horse drawn carriage takes her breath, so odd and beautiful over the snow outside. She leaves the light off.
A tractor grumbles far out in the field. She dreams of running, finding her way back to her mama's house. There are paths still worn out there, beneath the snow, paths where she, a child, used to wander dreaming, paths that lead to the front door no longer there.