The Day There Was a Picnic

The Day There Was a Picnic by Rebecca Fishow 

 

At the corner store patrons were making love transactions, swapping money for the largest quantities of affection they could hurl over their shoulders, haul away. I didn’t have any money. Love, who knows? But the people looked so happy. Or sad. I couldn’t tell.

Outside was so windy we could hardly stand. Then the rain came. Then the snow. Then discarded objects fell from the sky. Telephone booths and abacuses, dryer sheets and bullet shells. We covered our faces with our arms, hoped for the best—for life to continue, for whatever we already had. When the mad weather stopped, we set picnic tables in front of the corner store, forced the cars to honk and go around. We ate up all the bought and sold love, then, stuffed on the feast, waddled home.

Overnight, my body ached the stern way a cold tree creaks, so I turned on a lamp. Light expanded  in the room,  and would continue forever if I took a sledgehammer to the walls. I tried a form of meditation— with each inhale, I sucked down a puff of clean white air. Exhale and I expelled thick black clouds of dust. Let the good in. Let the bad out. Let the good in.

I couldn’t sustain the rhythm very long. Who was I to hoard the good, and send my pain off like a forgotten daughter? I closed my eyes and felt a certain hopelessness, thankful for the walls, and my own tiny world of love.