Nadia knows, when the mother leaves them, that they will die. They lurch from side to side, low on the ground, ears folded over into crinkled triangles. Claws soft, mouths brown with dirt, meowing in the damp soil of the flower bed.
You schedule the U-Haul for a weekend when your husband plans to be in the woods. You do not repeat your argument that camping isn’t medication or therapy. That it cannot, in other words, fix him. You make him a sandwich for the drive to Mendocino. As his car pulls away, you know it’s the last time you’ll see him.
Rochelle and her mother lived in a large town that was on its way to becoming a small city. On her way to school, Rochelle often stopped to watch the crews of construction workers erect a new house in the hole where, only a few days before, one of her neighbors’ houses had loomed in sour glory, a car parked on its front lawn, silk flowers sprouting along its foundation like hair plugs.