Granada, Andalusia, Spain. August 1986.
Sitting on the edge of the bed now, listening. A door opened, shut, someone has come and gone, that much is certain. They’ve hidden them, and he must find them.
Unless they didn’t leave.
No reply. He has to start. The drawers? Too obvious but he tries a couple. The cushions? He pulls them off the sofa, feels down the back and side, moves carefully because if they
are there what state might they be in? He finds a crumb covered coin, nothing else. On the high shelves then, at the back of the cupboard, rolling in dust? Or in a jar in the bureau, pickled, floating like onions? With others? Alone? Alone, yes, has to be.
He starts to move quicker. Grapes on the table, that’s frightening. Eat one? Too risky. Time’s nearly up, pull back the sheets, grope under the pillows.
He lies back down. “There’s no one there,” he says, challenging the dark.
He sits up. He knows where they are. His father is in the doorway, making it look small, and he has them exactly where they should be.
“Looking for these?” Dad says, and starts to squeeze his eyeballs from his face.
Off the bed, groping for a light, blundering in an unfamiliar dark to a wall, a door, a switch, filling the room with yellow, running to the window, pulling back the thick curtains. He thrusts his head out into fierce sun and furnace air and the heat brings him back. He remembers where he is.
It takes him longer to remember why.
Six PM. Jet lag muzzles his head like a warm, wet towel and he can’t figure if home is ahead of Granada or behind. No, behind, it’s nine in Vancouver now. Gwen will be getting Sunday breakfast. French toast. Wearing her blue smock to protect her church clothes. If he was there they’d eat, then she’d take the smock off.
“Coming?” she’d ask.
“Nothing to confess,” he’d say.
He’ll call, catch her before she goes, but after a shower. He wants to make sense when he speaks to her. Before the shower though…
read the entire story in Pulp Literature Issue No. 1, Winter 2014.