Reversals of Fortune

...My godmother lived an isolated, sterile existence. She rarely left the house and had no interests or hobbies, nothing she felt passionate about. She had no friends. Apart from her doctor and her priest, her only contact with the outside world was my mother, with whom she spoke on the phone religiously, bridging the five hundred miles between San Francisco and Los Angeles each Sunday.

The Snapper

In an instant, she stands outside the door again. Her brother’s room. She’s been here before, fondling the doorknob, wishing to go in. For the first time, though, she has the key. Her breath quickens. Her belly seizes up. It’s been sixteen years since she last entered this room. Her mother goes in there, maybe. Her father too, before he died. Or maybe the room sits empty, has sat empty for all these years. Holding its own ghosts since her family closed it up the week after Evan turned eighteen.

Me and Mr. Kappus

Writing almost slipped through my splayed fingers like four o’clock sand in August. Burning as it went. Then, 2020. In a nutshell: global pandemic, three small kids, one overworked husband. Me, crying on the floor of my closet. I’m 39, wiping down my groceries with Lysol wipes exactly once and then deciding that I’d rather we all die than do that again. I’m forty, lying in bed at night, wondering whether the fever that plagues my two-year-old is COVID-19 or one too many boogers eaten off the tip of his plump tiny thumb. The fear is palpable. It takes my breath away.