Issue #3 |

Lesser Accidents

The books I got from Amazon are now added to my list of burdens, but the earnestness of the author has stopped their journey to the trashcan. His car crash reminds me of my sister and her mashed up body, and she did have the same fecklessness that he does, the evangelical approach to wellness that worked so well for them. I was party to another era that was yet to meditate or affirm.

I am winding through the grass of the football field while my husband walks on the path. I am worried that I may have to send him to an aged care home if he continues with the bulldog attitude of this last year. My father in law had to go that way, in his nineties, since he was too aggressive. He died soon after. He had been a psychologist, a hobby of his while he worked as a chemist during the war. He gave us a fig tree that would be a test for any gardener. My husband and I begin comparing the lifespans in our ancestry. I got to lift my game, I say.

We are annoyed at the garbage disposal truck since they keep leaving behind the last of the plastic bags, and the decomposition of the previous week. I was reading a New Yorker article about the pleasant relationship between collectors and the owners of the refuse in Cairo. Was the romantic air of the business influenced by the perspective of a traveler through foreign lands? I wondered how much was paid for the article.

I spent some days traveling through the Sinai peninsula but my son, who works the social media, says it is quite unstable now. He says the dust might be comparable to his Burning Man experience but I don’t think so; for a start, I was not as bright as he was about visiting other people’s countries.

The sleeting rain from last night has gone and left the sky anxiously taut. There are lots of matters to be grateful for; none of my children have bought a motorcycle, landed on a Greek island and borrowed airfare home from a handsome stranger, or had to live with the parents and take employment in a pet food factory with a laboratory scientist who used to work in wartime Germany. The scientist would not listen to me about safe mercury disposal because she was a submissive, worried about the hulking men who ran the place. I see this woman in the shopping malls, and in other people’s faces.

In reels unrelated to this urbane present, what unites disparate scenes are my responses to crises but I can’t see this movement of myself, this step by step, this dew laden grass.

Photo courtesy of Flickr photographer Helen in Wales

Girija Tropp is a winner of the Boston Review Prize and the Josephine Ulrick Literature Award 2006. She has been published in AGNI, Best Australian Stories 2005 and 2006, Fiction International, Mississippi Review, Denver Quarterly, and other magazines.

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