grandparent thrones

He is going around and wiping dust from every surface with the palms of special gloves. He then brings his dust-encrusted hands up and places them against my face and holds them there.

I’m sitting on a log before a beach bonfire with Mimi and Mabs. I zip open one of our blue sleeping bags and pull it up across our shoulders. We all go to bed, and when I wake up in the morning, they’re gone. They’ve cleared out completely, leaving no sign they were there apart from two little black-striped silver flashlights they presumably used to find their way around in the dark.

I walk through the Winter Cabin, looking for a note from them. The place is full of things previous people left behind. My attention is briefly snagged by a pad of drawing paper, but I move on. I find a letter in Mabs’ handwriting on the table and pick it up and begin to read. But it’s written to the grandparents, so I put it down again. Someone hands me an envelope that is sealed, addressed, and stamped but hasn’t gone through the mail. I think, Ah, this is it, and tear it open. But inside are only some photographs. My sister is going through some photos of her kids, and I hand it to her. She’s holding a 4″x4″ negative of a cluster of pictures and holds it up to the light to look at them. I move around her to the front of the table where the grandparents sit in state in a sunken alcove in a set of throne-like chairs, which have apparently recently replaced the crumbling seating that was there before.

I’m driving through the cobblestone streets of an unfamiliar town in a car that’s not my own. There are three other people in the car with me, including the car’s owner sitting in the back seat. He is teasing and flirting with me, and I am trying very hard to stay focused on the curves of the road and my speed. We go up a hill and stop at a light at the top. Then I start rolling backward, the pickup truck behind reversing out of my way. I’m trying to stop or drive forward, but I’m stomping around on the floor and can find no pedals. We’re picking up speed, and in a panic I wake up.

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