MRS. KEEP

She came to the library to volunteer but whenever she looked at a bookshelf she got dizzy and had to sit down. It was difficult to give her a job but it didn’t matter, she usually forgot what the job was before she began it. She kept in her black leather purse, in a white envelope, two black and white photographs. She usually brought them out before she went home. She would stand near the book bin and pass them around.


Her father was a country doctor who was a photographer in his spare time. In the first photograph she’s a girl standing in a sunlit field, holding in her arms an injured fawn her father found in the woods. I’ve forgotten the second photograph.


After her husband died, she stopped coming. It’s been years since I’ve seen the photographs. I wish I could remember the second one. I remember it being almost as beautiful as the one where she’s holding the fawn. Soon I’ll forget that one too.


It’s been raining all day. I keep thinking of her. Where has she gone? Perhaps she’s sitting down in a wicker chair, taking the ragged envelope out of her black purse. Just now reaching for the sunlit girl and fawn, for the picture of the thing I’ve forgotten.

THE END OF PLEASURE

It would have been unlikely for rain to fall at that hour, though it had been predicted and he wanted to believe that it would, if only for the fulfillment of a prophecy. For something to be true. For someone to be trusted.
 

The sky was gray all day—lightening, then darkening, threatening a vanishing. Clouds blotting out color. Clouds blunting light. Clouds chilling the air above and between them. At last the sky was so black, rain seemed certain.
 

The man put on his raincoat and hat. He loved to walk in the rain; black skies filled him with hope and purpose. He walked and he walked but by the time he came back, the sun was a bugle, the sky a blue hell. He shook out his coat before entering the house, but even then, no rain fell.

return to ISSUE THREE