by Nicole Elizabeth
The woman on my lawn thinks I took her husband. Moreover, she thinks he's in here, with me. I know this because through the living room I can see her, with a hiking pack, and can hear her with a bullhorn and a megaphone. She is shouting "Send him out, adulterer. Give him back."I am not the woman who has taken her husband. I know this because I have a husband, in a photograph. My husband is dead, I a widow.
She's been by the mailbox for three days, I think she has an army helmet and I think she has defecated into it.
"No Sally, do not call the police." I say over the phone to the neighbor down the street, "Let's see where this goes."
I can hear her howling after the moon goes down and I'm in our bed holding his cold side and feeling my arm waft through empty space in the air. I can hear her better because I have left the window open.
It has been two years, I haven't emptied our house of his things, and there are no children.
I watch her, asleep where the lawn meets my driveway, while eating Special K and standing the way he would have told me to stop doing and sit down. I make her a small basket of fruit. I give her one of my patterned paper napkins. I leave the basket by her sleeping head before pulling out of the driveway to go to work.
"No Sally, you do not need to go and check on her." I say into the phone, "She is not here to steal, she is here to get something back. There's a difference."
I eat my salad out of a to-go plastic container at my desk quietly, I stare. When I get back to my house, there are newscasters everywhere. This woman is giving interviews. She is leaning pretzel-legged against my mailbox, next to my lilacs, talking into a microphone.
"She took my husband. He's been in there a week," she says. I roll up my car window and continue to drive right past the zoo in front of my house where the woman is asking national television for her husband back.
Grass stains don't lift as easily as those laundry detergent commercials would have everyone believe.
Hours later, I return to my home, where things seem to have quieted down. The woman is still sitting on my curb, drinking what looks like a fifth of vodka. I get out of my car and sit down on the road next to her.
"Drink?" she asks me.
"Yeah." I answer.
Nicole is pleased to be a part of Night Train. She has a BFA from Emerson College in Writing, Literature and Publishing in Boston. She is currently in Venice, California working as labor in an actual hula hoop factory