Maisie was at her cousin Amy’s, on the outer edge of Farragut, as far west as Maisie would ever go.
Maisie had a hard time relating to Amy, 10 years older, still waitressing, with family responsibilities.
Maisie didn’t have that life, and knew Amy resented her for it.
Thirsty, coming up from the basement for ice water in the dead of night, unquiet dreams needling her awake.
Amy was outside, sitting on a swing on her children’s swing set, head cast down, her feet pushing her back and forth.
Amy was still in her waitress uniform, still in her big black parka, a cigarette burning forgotten between her fingers.
Maisie watched Amy, zoned out, not tethered to the earth, and not touching the stars, instead in an abscess.
Maisie wanted to go to her, but this visit had already been strained, already Maisie felt lime in irritation.
She got her water, and went back to the couch in the basement.
Later, she heard the closing of the backyard door, the rustle of the parka coming off.
She heard footsteps patting the stairs, a moment, then the shower starting. All seemed to be well. Maybe it was.
Maisie cocooned in the comforter, and tried to find some soothing in her dreams.