I swept and I swept, a blister soon forming: a circular flap of skin dyed blue from the broom handle’s cheap paint. A Cinderella in search of a wicked stepmother, I tore that piece of skin right off.
My stepmother soon surfaced, a glamorous guest who wore black but still outshone the bride. Sunhat, pearls, dazzling bracelets over arm-length gloves, a possibly lifted face: this guest had attended the Joan Collins School of Beauty. Her one against-type trait? She spent the evening drinking not white, but red wine.
Meanwhile, bees, confused, drifted into the banquet hall to die. Outside, the raccoons were gathering momentum; it must have been a bumper crop year. I looked at the circle of raw, damp flesh that punctuated the crook of my thumb and forefinger. It seemed so alarmingly permeable. It was going from red to purple, getting closer to the unnatural blue it had been before. Is this what it feels like, I wondered, to be a tree in the fall?
I went home with a pot of hardy-looking succulents.