Open windows let rain cleansed air through the house. The woman’s gaze washed over the kitchen.

“Mom likes cows,” said the man standing near her.

“Holstein’s,” she said.


“Those cows with the black spots like these.” She rolled between her finger and thumb the hem of a blotted curtain. Her eyes fixed on a pitcher molded to form the shape of a cow. She moved to where it rested on the counter.

“Milk comes from the mouth,” he said. She nodded.

“Is the whole house like this?” she asked.

“The living room is blue.”

The two moved to the archway between the dining room and front room. She reached and gripped his hand in hers. He smiled at her hand, smiled at her forehead.

Framed posters of pastoral scenes dressed sky-colored walls. Dusty sheets draped fog-like over couches and chairs. A single photo was set atop the console television. A boy. He would become this man.

They moved in tandem to the base of the stairs.

“The bedrooms are up there. A bathroom. There’s an attic.” He looked upstairs. His eyes worked back and forth. “I don’t even know where to start,” he said and let out a loud breath through his nose.

“I brought boxes,” she said.


“They’re in the car,” she said.

He dropped her hand and whatever his face disclosed echoed back as tears in her eyes. He thumped the side of his head with the heel of his hand, twice. With the same hand he then squeezed the top of his nose. He looked at her. She looked at the thermostat on the wall.

“Boxes,” he said.


Tammy Peacy lives and writes in Kenosha, WI. Her work can be read in past issues of SmokeLong Quarterly, Big Bridge, Dogzplot, and other online and print publications.