Fiction | Short Story

Do You Think You’ll Come Home?

It was only when I was much older that I realized Sara was tied to my mother’s nightmares.

My mother was prone to nightmares, so we had an elaborate system to make the house safe every night. In the evening it was my job to go into the bathroom before she took her shower, where I would close the curtain over the square window that looked out over the garden. She had an intense fear of that window at night, convinced someone, whether supernatural, human, or in-between, could press its cold face up to the panes at any moment. At ten exactly, she would go to take her shower, leaving the door open a crack so the yellow light within leaked out into the hallway where I stood watch. She showered for seven minutes, no more and no less, keeping track with a waterproof stopwatch she brought into the bathroom with her. Three minutes were for soaping her face and body, two minutes for shampooing and one minute for conditioner, the last minute for rinsing or relaxing at last, for just sixty seconds, into the hot water.

Life and Death in Shanghai

oh, boy

Was I right to . . . ? Should I have . . . ? Why didn’t I . . . ?

Early-onsetYoung for dementia