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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Frog and Toad are Friends 16

 Babe stands over Griselda’s body and feels the wrong feeling. Jealousy. It looks like G went quickly, painlessly. Maybe an aneurysm. Of course Make Do has plenty of devices that can make it look that way. She checks Rabbit from the side of her eye. He wouldn’t notice. Rabbit has never caught her having a feeling she was actually having. Still, she feels exposed. Maybe to G, her body, her spirit. Babe’s unsure about spirits.  I’m sorry, she thinks hard. And then, I’m sorry this happened to you. Crumpled Griselda on Frog’s green shag rug. “Like spring!” he’d said. And they did picnic on it. Frog did toss yellow flower petals to wither on it, lie back on it as though high gazing at clouds, sing bittersweet ballads with all the windows open and the warm breeze making Babe feel alive in a way she didn’t quite like. Crumpled Griselda where once Babe proved she could still do a backbend, but her handstand got wobbly and she kicked the low metal table. Where Frog plucked the handkerchief from his pocket and the ice from his whiskey so that her toe wouldn’t swell. Griselda lying still on her side curved as a C with a thick strand of yarn clamped between her lips. “What is it?” Babe asks, not looking up from the navy yarn, fuzzed out at the edges, knotted with a loop at its end. “Dunno,” says Rabbit a good five feet away. He’s looking out the window, up at the tiled ceiling, crouching down, standing back up, staring at the clock. He’s figuring. Babe should do her part, but it hurts to Big Think so far from home. She doesn’t have all night, either. She left the eldest in charge, a frozen pizza, a box of mozzarella sticks, a bag of baby carrots. Not babies, they insist. They’re regular carrots cut little. Rabbit has pushed the velour couch against the wall so that they have room to lay out the sheet onto which they’ll roll Griselda’s body. It’s got a plastic barrier on one side and a sort of microfiber material on the other that will attract all stray hairs, fibers, particles. They’ll wipe the rug down with a cloth of the same fabric, vacuum, wipe again, vacuum again. Babe thinks how long it’s been since she’s run the vacuum at home. She tries not to think about what the children and cats track in. Sand is cleaner than mud, anyhow, she reasons. Babe looks full on at Rabbit, now. He’s wearing the same papery white suit she is. They’ll shed these later, burn the clothes beneath, and there really won’t be a trace of them left. Just like their appears to be no trace of Frog. Out the window, Orion is rising. Babe longs to lean her bare back against that cool sword of stars. Or maybe it burns. She longs to be large enough and away from here. She longs to go with Griselda, and thinks take me with you, G.

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