The rules squawked from her yammering beak.
Don’t tell people they can’t have toys in the house.
There are no toys allowed in the house.
People will play with the toys and they will break them.
There are no toys allowed in the house.
Don’t tell people they can’t have toys in the house.
Like a blaze of fire crawling over the surface.
Seeping into its seams, its joints.
Swallowing its insides. Becoming the thing it destroys.
Broken bracelets, two. Broken frame. Broken candle.
The mug is shattered, broken ceramic.
Shower wall broken with shattered ceramic.
People will play with the toys and they will break them.
There are no toys allowed in the house.
Don’t tell people they can’t have toys in the house.
There are no toys allowed in the house.
People will play with the toys and they will break them.
Don’t tell people things that will make them think you’re crazy.
Stop yammering. Brush your teeth.
Toothpaste, toothbrush. Back and forth.
Brush the teeth. Comb the hair.
This isn’t a Victorian play, hysterical doesn’t mean Hysteria.
Actually… stop and fix the dinner.
Follow the instructions – half cup of mushrooms.
Half a red onion.
Two tablespoons of pesto.
Follow the instructions.
Make the pizza.
Don’t tell people things that will make them see you’re crazy.
In here. IN HERE.
She’s very unreliable that one.
She’s gone now you know.

Author’s Note:

In March of 2019 I went to Chicago. While there we stopped at The Art Institute of Chicago where this picture was taken. Something about the bright colors against the darkness – the sadness, the longing, the grotesqueness of the painting struck a chord with me. In preparation for posting “and Then She Was Gone” I scrolled through my photo album hoping for a picture of something broken, smashed, destroyed. I would have even taken spilled or a snapshot of dinner prep. Instead I saw a picture of a painting – red, bright and abstract that appeared to be on canvas also from the museum. I thought to myself, that could work. I kept scrolling, wanting to see if I took a picture of the title, artist, etc. when I saw Ida. That’s when I knew that was the image I wanted to use for this story. It’s not the best picture quality, it’s probably not the most appropriate picture, but it spoke to me then differently, but as it speaks to me now.

Albright, Ivan. And Into The World There Came a Soul Called Ida. 1929, oil on canvas, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago.

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