The fog lifted aroundthem, the clouds gathered in the sky, and she wondered if he was turning intorain. Don’t they teach you anything in that bloody school? It’s doggy heaven, where there’s eternal dog biscuits and theycan poop wherever they please. They don’t say anything but the steam from their coffeekisses and dances around their faces and above their heads. The woman with the shouty kids has a coffeethat breathes in and out, letting out long, tired sighs. He’swearing red suspenders and a purple suit, holding on to his coffee cup withboth hands, as if he’s stopping it from flying away. Your dinner could fly into your mouth and the sky could be covered withtrees and the streets might switch places, though some people would get seasickand planes wouldn’t be that special anymore.
It was only when she dragged Rambo up to the house in herschoolbag that her mother thought to tell her how the world worked. Another man eatswhile not looking at his wife and has coffee steam that makes the mostbeautiful shapes in the air. The tree-bark-face man blows on his coffee so hard that theliquid spills over the edge and the steam splits in half. He stares deep into the cup for a few minutes, then blows onit again. He has to plant both of his hands on the tableand push himself up with everything he has.
Days later, Millie discovered that Rambo was most definitelynot on a new planet and was, in fact, in their backyard, buried halfheartedlyunder the Sunday Times. Your boots match my suspenders, he says,tapping his fingers on his suspenders.
And when afternoon becomes night, and the last door is clicked shut,and everything goes black—the air, the sound, the earth—it feels like the wholeworld is closing.
She crawls back under the Ginormous Women’s Underwear andtakes a sandwich out of her backpack. The only other sound, a humming from thelights in the display second day of waiting Millie once thought that no matter where you fell asleep, you would always wakeup in your own bed.
As she eats it, she watches the mannequinthrough the gap in the undies. She fell asleep at the table, on the neighbor’s floor, on a ride at the show, and whenshe woke she was under her own covers, looking up at the ceiling of her ownbedroom.
Millie finds her backpack underneath the Ginormous Women’s Underwear. In the crack between the undies themannequin looks down at her from across the aisle.
She takes out her Just In Case glass jar, puts it between her knees,unscrews the lid, and lowers the fly into the jar. She can see DADbackward in big letters through the paper. His shirt is bright blue andhas yellow palm trees on it.