Excerpt from Shaky Ground
"Susanna's really pretty. And poised. She's just so perfect. In every way."
"That's Mary Poppins, Caitie. Besides, who wants perfect?"
"Well. They would have made an ideal couple."
"The only one who thinks that is her mother," Samantha said. "If Hagen wanted Barbie, he could have had any number of them by now."
I remembered Sebastian's words about my not being Hagen's most beautiful lover. "So you think he prefers Midge." I felt glum as I stuffed the last piece of toast in my mouth.
She laughed. "If anyone is Midge, it's me. My mom has an original from the sixties. She looks exactly like me, including freckles."
"Well, I'd rather be Midge any day. She's perky at least. Barbie looks like she's just gotten home from her lobotomy."
"Who needs brains when you've got shoes to go with every outfit?" She giggled, snorting.
"And if you lack a frontal lobe, you really do need to have color coordinated clothes." I dribbled red wine on my shirt.
We both cracked up. It felt good to laugh hard and it felt nice being there with Samantha. I hadn't realized how much I missed her company. She refilled our wine glasses and we moved to the couch.
"Have you heard from Hagen lately?"
I just shook my head, wishing we could get off the subject of Hagen. For a minute, I had imagined I was enjoying myself.
"It's just so strange. First he gives you this beautiful pendant, and then a car, for God's sake, and goes poof into the night."
I sighed. "It was morning when he left."
"What do you mean morning?"
"We spent the night together and he left in the morning before I woke up," I said.
"Without even a goodbye kiss?"
"My but we're nosy today."
"Well, you would have given him a goodbye kiss if you were going away for a couple of months, wouldn't you?"
I would never have gone in the first place. "Well, since you asked, we had plenty of those in the hours before he left," I said. And a farewell message, a message that haunted me each night. Words came into my head.
Night is longing without you.
The dawn breaks cold.
With no promise of your touch, a barren land.
|awarded an Indy B.R.A.G. medallion, 2014|
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Shaky Ground cover illustration by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich
Steffi Love shoes on old Barbie feet via photopin (license)