Hugh sat in front of the TV, his back to her, rigid as a mannequin, the usual mood he assumed when Jimmy came to get him on Saturdays. Margot had left the back door open to keep an eye on the pecan tree that swayed over the fence with Mr. Knight’s back yard. What good it would do to watch it fall on her garage, she didn’t know. Even through the thrum of rain and air conditioner’s moan and the TV announcers’ gabble, she could hear the Knights arguing next door.
Just as she told Hugh to say a prayer that his father would be safe, the lights in the house went out, the TV went dead, the air conditioner stopped. Hugh glanced back at her – she was standing at the sink, checking the road, which was still clear – then he leaned across the piles of paper on her desk, pressing his nose against the air conditioner to catch the last cool drops, his eyes closed, beatific, as if receiving a sacrament. How delicate he still was, she thought, his milk-pale skin covering blue veins, his wrists so small she could circle them with her forefinger and thumb. All morning, he hadn’t spoken to her; she still wasn’t sure if he would now. Her heart constricted with tenderness for him, a physical ache.
“No One’s Trash,” Crazyhorse (Issue #95, Spring 2019)