There's the running and going on and the straggling along for the windows. Someone by the door looks away; turns back around. Looks down, settling in. The look is in the biting of the lip. Blurred and blown back—the look—in the going on and the going on. And then Anne spills into the other door. Sits next to the bed in a chair and says nothing for what seems like a while. Says after a while—starting to draw things out further with a shrug—says after a while again: where she has been.

"I am tired of repeating myself."

Draws out, extends in hand something and drops it upon the floor. A dialogue of jangling and plop on the carpet.

There had been some time before this, before at least the time a while back that I met Anne. She had been pear shaped. That was how old boyfriends might have described her in late nights at bars. And how her daughters later found her in photographs. There were three lines on her forehead and with these lines you might say, through the motion of sighing or the motion of frowning or the movement of raising an eyebrow—with this you might say she wrote something rather essential about history.
      Anne walked around, no shoes on her feet. Wearing a shirt that said Minnesota in white Coca-Cola style lettering. Walking and looking around. Carrying bags and boxes of things from here to somewhere else.
      It would be later in the day that she'd walk her daughter's home from school in between other sidelong trips and glances. I once had something somehow almost spectacular to say about the things she would say to me. Of the shuffling of feet and crags seen in the faces of those she'd passed. Of the last good sleep she'd had or the tittering and rasping of her children and men.
      And there had been one daughter though later there were three. Before her second daughter was born she moved in between a family from Michigan and me. The daughter of the family, in high school gave Anne magazines she'd finished reading that she thought might help with her appearance and with men. To her insistent eyes, Anne only seemed to enjoy the company of one man and. Besides, this man left a few months before any of this in her car.

Until somewhere a few weeks after the first night, the next to last in line bit of the around and further out: it was somewhere here that I was told they'd discovered the car keys of the girl missing from her purse.
      I found Margaret, the mother, frantic. Sitting in a chair across from me, looking into my face. Wanting not to frown. I can recall having been on a jet all night, awake. Sweat was still coming out from under my arms. She had left earlier that morning with only one of the daughters in the back seat. No one thought of where to follow her.
      And when I arrived, I found Margaret sitting in a chair in the living room; her husband upstairs pissing. When he came down, he said hello and shook my hand. Then he frowned and looked down on the floor. No one said anything for a moment until Margaret, reaching for the telephone, was startled by it's sudden ringing. She screamed, then said, "oh fuck," and knocked the phone over. Her husband, Bob, pulled out a pack of cigarettes and began smoking one. Then another and another, all the while pacing behind her and then finally sitting down on the couch.
      He turned on the television and after a moment Margaret looked over at him and then at the screen. On the morning news there was a report of a man driving into a family of four crossing the street the night before. Backing up, about to speed away, a bystander heard him say, "who are these people with their ugly children?" Margaret sighed and shifted in her chair.
      The husband, Bob, stayed with the news. Anne we were later told, drunk at the wheel from the night before, came to a stop sign on a small road, falling asleep with her head down in the passenger seat. Her foot on the brake and the motor running until the car ran out of gas.


Jibade-Khalil Huffman

This piece began as a rumor, changed into a poem, and now finally finds itself here as a story. It is best enjoyed accompanied by the music of Sonny Rollins and John Huston's "The Misfits" playing muted in front of you as you read.