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"The Rest is Lost" by Julia Ruth Smith

It was a toffee door, open for everyone, closed after midnight. There was family and dogs on the staircase; coffee-drop lozenges going up and down and round and round; the hum and sex of beautiful boys, talking, happy coffee in corners, laughter staring up at blueberry slush puppy skies, asking if it would rain on freckles and noses in that summer when we were as happy as fruit.

Who would have known that it would end like it did, in leaves falling jagged on despair and gritty ice cream clouds the day after, sirens shrieking down the brown-orange carpet towards us?

The party had been of mutual decision. No one remembers whose lips had said,

“See you at ten-thirty at the solid house on the lake.”

Picture us together, on blankets of swimming, picnics of cool water, drying off and sandwiches, heat spilling unexpectedly from the sun.

Help us to go back and put the pieces together in our vacuum of petal happiness to the point where it all went wrong.

Glasses raised to a life too easy and a xylophone of good sounds; all of us safe in our breezy cotton lightness.

Life had taught us to be sure-footed, but that day Jody died and we need to know how unsteady moments got in and drowned her. She was the youngest in our blundering herd and we should have protected her.

Julia writes small things which often have no beginning or end. This is no exception.


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