Acupuncture After The Apocalypse

House on My Way

I stop by Jenna’s house on my way home from work today. One of her sons—probably the numerically fortunate one who turned twelve years old on eight-four—opens the door for me. The boy isn’t sure if his mom is home or not, which means she must leave her kids alone sometimes. I wonder if she’d have done that in the old days when more people were around.

Eventually, Jenna emerges from the basement. She’s wearing a sleek athletic top, the kind that leaves three inches of skin showing between it and her surfer shorts. I look for signs of a doughy roll around her midriff but am disappointed.

I ask Jenna if she’s heard of Beefcake and his campaign for Mayor. She has. She says he sounds like a colossal jerk, and that if I’m here to try to get her to vote for him, well, forget it.

“He’s not so bad.” I actually find myself feeling a bit defensive on Beefcake’s behalf. There’s nothing like spending time with your enemy to get you to soften. “Anyway, I’m not here for politics. I work with him, sort of, and I just wondered if you would possibly be interested in going out with him sometime. On a date-type situation.”

Jenna rises up from the comfortable-looking Amish rocker she was sitting in.

“Did Theo offer you something to drink?”

“Theo?” A male housekeeper maybe, that I somehow missed. “No, I don’t think so.”

“He should have,” Jenna says. “It’s hard to teach boys manners.”

Jenna steps away from me into what I assume is the kitchen. I’m not sure whether I’m to follow or stay sitting in the front parlor. I decide to go after her and there I find her lifting an already-made pitcher of lemonade out of the refrigerator. It has real lemons floating around in it. Does she have the energy to keep her house this tidy AND make fresh lemonade just to have around for surprise drop-ins?

Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.