Carole

Burns

The Missing Woman 

From “Honour’s Daughter”

 

Martin Honour, an ache in his throat, watched his sixteen-year-old daughter perched over the edge of the pool. This was the only place he saw her body – all eighty-eight and one quarter pounds of it this week – usually hidden in oversized sweaters and jeans baggier than the style. Even here, Liza concealed herself in a thick, white robe until seconds before she had to get on her mark. She did her warm-ups in her robe, stretching and bending like some animate towel— so Martin Honour was shocked to see her emerge from that fulsome whiteness like a butterfly without her wings.

 

From “My Life in Dog Years”

 

“As I drive up, Jessica is talking to friends so she hasn’t noticed the time. They’re all wearing little round sunglasses like John Lennon’s, though they don’t know that. She gets in the car then stares at me, slides her glasses down her nose to look.

      “Ma,” she asks, “what are you wearing?”

       I forgot to change out of Mike’s old shirt. It’s even uglier now that I look at it – it’s not only faded, but got splotched with dark brown from some chemical when I wore it cleaning.

       “It’s my ironing shirt,” I say.

       “You know,” she says, returning her glasses to their proper place on her nose, “maybe you should try wearing one of the shirts you ironed.”

 

From “The Missing Woman”

 

She also knew she’d regret not stopping – all day and all night and all weekend and years later, if she thought of it, she’d regret not stopping to help search for the missing woman. She wondered if her regret over not stopping would make her stop the next time. And she knew it wouldn’t, and her regret turned inward, as she wondered what was missing, why she wouldn’t be able to stop, why the kids and Michael and the fear of not being able to keep her family whole made her unable to follow her instinct to reach out.