by Jake Barnes

My Dad was in his casket wearing a spiffy suit. His pale face was rouged. He looked as natural as he was going to look, except for his hair. He had wavy hair; they combed it straight.


I raised hell. I brought a photo and they got it right. At the funeral he looked almost the way he looked in life, a big man with big appetites, some of which went unsatisfied.


When we got home after the service at the graveyard, my mother sat in a corner of the sofa and cried. “What am I going to do?” she wailed. “I'll have to get a job.”


She leaked tears the rest of afternoon. We ate a supper made from the leftovers brought over by the good people of the town. That evening she sat on sofa and sniffled and twisted her handkerchief with her fingers. I decided it wasn't the right time to show her the picture I found upstairs in a box of old photo albums in the den, a black and white photograph of a woman in a bathing suit.


I didn't recognize the woman, and I thought my mother might know who she was.