OUTAGE

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The night of the power outage, Bernie calls me to check that I’m okay. This was about two weeks ago. I tell her yes, yes I’m fine, then ask if she’s okay, but it’s all very quick. And then I feel some sort of jittery guilt that I didn’t talk more with her, so I call her back and ask her if she’s really okay, that she didn’t sound herself just now, which is a lie. She sounded perfectly alright. She says she’s okay, really she’s fine, all with a smile in her voice. I tell her I spoke earlier with some guy in an official capacity, from the power company, and he said it was important to wrap the food in the fridge and freezer in paper, and she said oh you haven’t already done that? And I said I wasn’t sure about the advice, but if she thinks it’s right then I’ll do it now, just as soon as I get off the phone. She asks me if I’ve got candles. I haven’t got candles, but I don’t want her bringing some over. So I tell her yes. But first, before I say yes, I pause to imagine the room I’m in, dark in its corners and shot through with the humid sepia tones of lit church candles. I imagine it so I can make it real while I’m talking to her, and then I describe the strange candlelight and the deep disarming shadows. Well, she says, as long as you’re alright. She says that we should go to bed soon. That when we wake the power will probably be back on. After I’ve wrapped the food, I say. Goodnight, she says. Goodnight, I say. But when I’ve hung up, I’m restless. I still don’t trust the advice about the food, and I can’t go to bed because I know I won’t settle, because that guilt from earlier, or something very like it, is still bouncing me around.

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5 thoughts on “OUTAGE

  1. mmmccaffrey

    … to imagine the room I’m in, dark in its corners and shot through with the humid sepia tones of lit church candles. I imagine it so I can make it real while I’m talking to her, and I describe the strange imagined candlelight and the deep disarming shadows to her.
    Terrifically well put.

    Like

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