A barbecue—what could be more red, white, and blue than your neighbor grilling out meat and inviting you to rip into it with your teeth in her backyard on the Fourth of July. It seemed pre-Apocalypse for some woman to stop by and ask me over. Her name is Jenna-something, and she knocked on the door while I was sitting in the breakfast nook working on my acupuncture point flash cards.
Here’s the thing: I don’t know Jenna. Other than Dr. Cohen, no one lives in any of the houses on our block, and no one lives on the blocks on either side of us. Jenna says from three streets to the north; I gleaned that like me, she has a house on the lake. Unlike me, she was living there legitimately before the Series of Unfortunate Catastrophes.
Jenna has the look of someone that nothing bad has ever happened to. That is not a look one sees much anymore.
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.