Sally was my favorite, born from a craft store and sewing machine, her yarn pigtails red like mine, wearing her homemade dress, arms open wide inviting me to pick her up and hold her, and although she was an imposter, I didn’t mind because I felt like one too and that meant we belonged together. But when I adopted Caleb he came with official papers and a birth certificate, smelling like baby powder, picked fresh from the patch, with a brand new smile and perfect round cheeks, so I buried Sally under the winter blankets in the cedar chest, even though her eyes were blue like my own, even though her shoulders were stained with my tears, even though when I tried to sleep at night I could hear her muffled mumbling, something about love.
The first thing you’ll be warned about when you move to this town is the seduction of gambling and booze. You’ll love the sunny days though, they’ll say. How great it is to wake up to that spotless sky nearly 300 days a year. But the truth is a person can grow tired of the eternal sunshine. Eventually you’ll despise the way the light seeps between the slats of the blinds, waking you from dreams. The way it fills up space you want to keep for a memory. The way it tries to cast out your melancholy when all you want to do is grip it like a vise. You’ll long for the monsoon rains to come. You’ll welcome the pillowy clouds, the darkened daytime skies, and the downpour of rain that the dry earth can’t hold. And that’s how you’ll find yourself sitting at a slot machine while others scramble around as water gushes from above, bringing down ceiling tiles, the floor becoming a river you let wash over your feet, soaking the bottom of your pant legs, rising up and up as you take a sip of the fourth beer you’ve had this morning, mindlessly pushing buttons, the jingling sounds drowning out your thoughts like a lullaby, watching the screen flicker, soaking in the moment your tears are mistaken for drops of rain.
is a disabled writer living with multiple sclerosis. Her stories have appeared in Milk Candy Review, Atlas and Alice, Maudlin House, Roi Fainéant Press, New Flash Fiction Review
and elsewhere. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with her husband and their animals. Find her at suzannehickswrites.com
and on Twitter @iamsuzannehicks