I am in my old house--the house where Mr. Ex and the Little Missus now live. I've come to get something, but I forget what. They're going on a trip, and I thought they would have left by now. But they're still here, flinging things into suitcases and shouting instructions to one another from room to room. "Raj, can you get the ice chest?" Mr. Ex calls to his brother-in-law. They're going on a car trip, I surmise as I dash around the corner just out of Mr. Ex's sightline. Now I'm crouching behind the couch. What have I done with my flip-flops? I have to get out of here. This place is a wreck, piles of clothes and junk everywhere. The blinds are drawn and it's hard to see what's what. Shoes. I see shoes. But not mine. Green brocade sling backs with kitten heels. I can't wear those. I root through the two-foot-high pile of sweatshirts behind the couch still looking for flip-flops--the bronze colored ones I really like. My daughter C. comes into the house from the back hallway. "Hey-hey," she calls. She's there to say good-bye to her little brother, but she practically steps on me on her way around the couch. "WTF???" she mouths when she sees me. I shrug. Now I've lost my clothes, too, and it's only because of the pile of sweatshirts that I'm not trapped on the family room floor stark naked. The coast is clear, and I dash for the coat closet by the garage door just as the Little Missus clip-clops down the back stairs, cursing under her breath. Uh-oh. She bangs the closet door open, and there I am, panting behind the coats, my heart pounding so raucously it's a wonder she can't hear it. "God damn it," she says. She's looking for something too, I guess. She bangs the door shut and heads for the kitchen. Now's my chance. I slip into the garage and out the pedestrian door into the dog yard.
I'm wearing a stolen coat and it barely covers my ass.
My favorite flip-flops lost forever in the rubble.
When I wake I'm floating in a pool of sweat, my throat full of needles.