--COUGH SYRUP AND DRUGS, BANDAGES AND GUAZE
It was the unspoken which frightened the boy most. Often the unspoken was a riddle, a curse sifting through the air while a gray smoke genie ushered from his mother’s dark nostril as she sucked on a cigarette, the tip orange-red and smoldering. Sometimes the unspoken was an empty bench at lunch time, save for the boy who was torn by being left alone while also savoring his loneliness. The unspoken was an empty chair at the head of the dinner table, children chewing soundlessly, good manners on display, none of them trying to think about their father’s stiff body hanging from a rope in the garage or why he would do such a thing and desert them. The unspoken could be noisy or shrill, muffled—sounds of sobbing or his mother’s scream in the middle of the night. But mostly it was the jar inside his head, a jangle of trapped wasps fighting for escape, the lid screwed on too tight.
Each night he searches the blue-black sky, sifting through a necklace of glittering stars. She once said Orion was her best friend, and though his sister’s been dead months now, he still whispers, “When I am older, I will become an astronaut, float through the Heavens in diligent search and find you.”
His new bride believed in those things and so when the Gypsy turned over the final Tarot card and shuddered, they left in a hurry, him claiming hoax, she not so sure.At home, he found a deck of cards. “Time for something different, something light,” he said.
“What?” she asked.