Sadie asks me if I remember that the house had pockets.
I say I lived there through half a dozen fatalities. I was very young. Pockets were beyond my grasp.
Sadie says she remembers how young she was. The Wreck of the Birkenhead was beyond her grasp.
Sadie reminds me about the refrigerator. You opened the door and a steel plate enlightened you, an auction plate, a plate that said the refrigerator had been sold at auction.
I ask Sadie if she knows the house came right out of Arrowsmith.
Sadie is genuinely surprised, but it's true. The corner is just over there.
Sadie tells me how poorly she slept, and how she would be alone in the street, in her pajamas, in a nightmare, wide awake, while behind the dark windows the strangers who were neighbors walked through hallways that led nowhere, or into rooms where all the lithographs depicted musicians or street cleaners whose faces were averted, but the fact that their faces were averted wouldn't register until much later, maybe even never.
Sadie tells me about the pockets. They cut costs. Cabinetry is a major expense.
I tell Sadie that I remember pockets on the back of the loveseat.
Sadie says no, all the pockets were on the exterior of the house, out back.
I say I could swear there were pockets on the back of the loveseat.
Sadie says no, only on the exterior, out back, on the safe side, facing other safe sides.
Sadie asks me if I remember about the rocks. No, she says, boulders. They are rocks now but they were boulders then.
We sit and look at the boulders.
Sadie lights a cigarette and says, I asked mother if she remembers the apartment building that her mother lived in and she told me her mother had never lived in an apartment building.
Sadie says, you really don't remember the boulders?
I do remember the boulders, but not really, only from dreams about being paid to clean, or volunteering to repair damage I'm responsible for but also have a special expertise in undoing.
I say no, I don't remember the boulders.
We sit and look at the boulders some more.
I take the cigarette from Sadie's outstretched fingers and relish the burn in my throat as I inhale. As I exhale, the smoke settles in the front window of the car, blurring the outlines of the house until it is a hazy shadow.
The final paragraph of this story quotes and recontextualizes the conclusion of Stephanie Janiak's "Family Dinner", published at Mississippi Review Online. Grateful acknowledgment is made to author and publisher.