They say the Sabine is rising, but I’ve decided not to listen. Outside, there’s the hollerslamscreech of families jostling their lives into overstuffed SUVs, but in here, the AC is still cranked, and the marble I made Geoff put in when we built the house is gleaming and cool. He’d been against it. A hardwood man, through and through. He lived in New Orleans during the season, though, and so he indulged me, since he knew I’d live here without him more than with him. Alone all the time now, I have no one to argue with about the proper flooring for this empty house. I’ve been lying here in the rotunda since noon, since my phone buzzed with the evacuation notice. Geoff was so careful with the marble. He laid a towel on the floor and set the note on the side table before he brought the gun to his chest. Maybe someone will knock on the door. Maybe the neighbors will have that courage, to come and ask the football star’s sad widow if she needs a hand. Or maybe I’ll lie here and smoke another Camel and let the little pile of ash off to my left side grow. In college, my social club made us wear white gloves in public, and we could smoke only with our left hands, while seated. I’ve fudged the details since then. No white gloves. No chair in this rotunda. But the burning cigarette is draped between two left-hand fingers, and when I bring it to my lips, I raise my pinkie slightly, like a debutante sipping carefully from her still brimming teacup.
About the Author: Christopher Lowe is the author of Those Like Us: Stories and You're the Tower: Essays. He teaches in the MFA program and coordinates the low-res MA program at McNeese State University.
Story Song: "Reflecting Light" by Sam Phillips