We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler


So Mary spent the time I was at school sleeping in a culvert by our house, charming no one, until one day she simply didn’t come home and, in the family tradition, was never spoken of again.

I am watching B’s karate class. He looks a bit lost. Karate has slipped on the priority list the last few months. First there was summer, and our persistent inability to make it to scheduled events. Then there was the start of school, which left us weeping in sogging puddles by the end of the day. And then there was soccer, which B was pretty much born for, and which he chooses above all other activities, including snuggling his mother. Sigh. I’m not bitter. I really do feel at my core the rightness of children growing up, up, up and away. It’s the amount of driving that gets me, and my habit of putting the children’s activities ahead of most everything else. Like dinner, going out with friends, and laundry. Busyness isn’t the only reason we have no clean laundry. The water in our well gets lower and lower. We can run the dishwasher every 12 hours and the washing machine every 12 hours, but they have to be opposite hours. I keep wishing for rain and we keep being granted sunny, beautiful days with glorious fall colors which I despise because all I can think about is our dry, dry ground. Last night I dreamed of rain, and then I dreamed of my old dead horse, and then I dreamed he was alive and I was vaulting on him with a funky half twist, which would never happen in real life, but also the dead never return in real life anyway. My horse was happy, in my dream. He was happy and his head was stretched out along the dividing wall and his eyes were closed, like we see the dogs do in bed at night when we are all piled up, one pile of dog, husband, and wife, all of us cozy in the now-chill nights that are still as dry as the bones we leave behind.

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