The Bridge – Dan Lawrence

Adrianne felt an unpleasant lightness in her stomach. Perhaps hers weren’t primitive enough. Even before Sheila, her habit of excusing herself soon after sex to go clean up had begun to annoy Dale. She enjoyed sex and considered herself competent at it, as at most things, but Sheila obviously had something she did not. She was younger, of course, and Adrianne, who refused to meet her, imagined her as dark-haired, almond-eyed and olive-skinned, the kind of woman who would bathe in Oil of Olay followed by a liberal dousing of My Sin.




It was still dark when Adrianne awoke. She felt muddled. It was cold and her bladder was full. She imagined the cold squeezing it. She thought about how milk reduces the tannin content of tea. The phrase ‘croak of dawn’ played in her head. She made her way to the bathroom, holding her hand in front of her like a saint parting the darkness. When she turned on the fluorescent mirror light, it rattled like brittle bones. She watched the inside of the bathroom window sweating and thought dimly to herself, ‘At least I’m not clammy.’




The next time Adrianne awoke, the curtains were filled with the voluptuous yellow light of late morning. The three-sided crib pushed up against her bed was empty, and she marveled at having slept through Paula’s removal. She sat up and dragged her hands down her face, pausing part way to rub her eyes, then opened them wide. To her surprise, everything looked right, bright, simple. She felt good, as though everything had settled into place inside of her. No residual or imminent headache, no dream phantoms. She was awake and the world lay before her, welcoming and whole. She washed and dressed and went to the kitchen to find her place set with a bowl of cereal, bread ready to toast, butter, homemade jam, juice, coffee on the stove. It was after ten, and she could catch glimpses of Gom and the kids through the side window, gardening: Gom bent over weeding, strands of white hair tickling her face; Melvin and Paula scraping ineffectually at the earth with tools they could barely lift. Adrianne felt grateful and happy.

She poured a cup of coffee and sat down with a sigh. She could tell that Gom had already been to town by the weekly paper that lay folded beside her cereal bowl. A photograph on the front page showed two men standing over the glistening creases of what looked like a plastic leaf bag. One of the men was standing at an angle that defied gravity with his eyes shut. The other was pointing over his shoulder to where a spiny halo of driftwood was silhouetted against the froth of surf, illuminated by a 3/4 moon. ‘Police Chief Rogers and reporter discuss body found last night on Big River beach,’ read the caption. The toast popped up and Adrianne buttered it and spread it sparingly with the homemade raspberry jam. The article below the photograph began, ‘Last night at 7:30 p.m., the body of an unidentified woman was unearthed on Big River Beach by a group of high-school students.’ She skimmed the rest of the article. They had no information about the woman yet except that she was probably in her twenties, had long brown hair, and wore blue jeans, a plaid wool shirt and a blue parka. She had been strangled.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Leave a Reply