In Need of a Glass Jar (from the series Day of No Dead)

You had just lost your wife, finished washing your car, and had just begun waxing when…

I heard the voice. It said “Honey.” Clearly.

And you turned and no one was there.

No one was there.

You’re not crazy.

No. No one else calls me “Honey” like that.

You heard it in the shower too?

Yes. No one else has ever shared the shower with me.

And then there’s the photo…

The photo of her and me. Cheek-to-cheek. Like this. See?

Yes. I think. Do it again.

Like this. I think. Memory is slippery. A photo the size of a stamp. Disappeared from its permanent place, the photo and the frame, from right here on top of the stereo between these two candelabras. This stereo is antique. I know what you’ll say.

That it’s simply been misplaced?

Yes. No. I searched under every cushion, in every cabinet. Day after day.

And what does this say?

Would you like something to drink?

No thanks.

She collected these jars. Jelly and jam jars. Pickle and olive jars. Scraped the labels off with a kitchen knife. And then scrubbed off the sticky stuff with a scrubber. Turned each one into a glass for drink.

That’s very practical. Did she entertain many guests?

No, not ever. We had many children. They’re all gone and out of the house, but I continue to do what she intended. I’ve kept the accumulated jars – all of them – and use them for quenching thirst.

So the voice has stopped?

True.

And you still haven’t found the picture?

No. That’s what I’m trying to tell you.

This says…

She’s telling me something.

Even though the voice has disappeared?

Voices don’t disappear. They stall. They weaken.

You can still see the photo, in your head?

We posed cheek-to-cheek. This is all. The jars are here, feel them, see them, each one, transparent and generic like the souls of the dead. Can you see what I’m saying?

I think.

The voice and picture belong to her now. Uniquely. She leaves me only these jar glasses. I hold one in my hand, bring it to my lips, and it serves my needs. She did her best. That I see.

I see.

Are you sure you won’t care for a drink?

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