November 19, 2015 Comments Off on Side Spaces By Sarah Glady
I am backstage at church. I’m with my family, maybe, definitely with the board of the association, definitely with people from my high school choir, but it’s not a service, it’s a motivational speaking engagement, or a fundraiser, and it’s almost my turn to speak, but I turn to stage right and know that I have to climb the rigging to get to the roof.
As I climb and climb, I pass three floors, but everyone is gone or in the shower, so I climb again. I know all of the tricks to the latches and swing doors, and so I get to the first attic. Everything smells like iron and cracked lips.
Two of my friends are playing cards. I’m not supposed to be there. They look at each other. It’s awkward. I wasn’t invited. My friend Brian tries to tell me as gently as possible that I’m in the wrong space, but I don’t listen. I kick down the stucco wall, and then I’m outside in the jungle, on the porch, with my trivia team and my sister.
They are all laughing. Some are missing. Gary, the one who always knows where the thimblerig ball is, sees me and tells me that there’s probably no room for me. I tell him that I’m not staying to play, that I was looking for Dana and Jess and Jackie. He sweeps his arms out towards the spongy green and tries to tell me that they’re out in the jungle, but I interrupt him and tell him that Jackie might be dead. We all know it. Vines are growing over her as we think.
Then there is a sound, and the trees we cannot see are instead buffalos and wolves and car crashes, and all of these changes are excruciating and our fault, but the red birds that were green or hidden or not real before, come straight for our tree house, and I see that there are more havens in the canopy, that there are baboons with fangs coming, so I grab the rope, now a rope ladder. I wrap it around my body, and as I push the porch away, I’m overtaken by the green where my friends are sleeping.
© 2015 Sarah Glady
Sarah Glady writes, teaches, hikes, and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She holds an MA in literature from Arizona State University. Her recent work can be found in McSweeney’s, PANK, and Cartridge Lit.