April 18, 2009

Jeanne Holtzman

Nothing Bad Happened

The week started out pretty okay. A bunch of planes flew over, but they didn’t drop any bombs so they weren’t a surprise attack by the Russians. No one got stuck in the elevator. I didn't even have any elevator nightmares. All the lights were on in the good stairway, and my mom got up and dressed every morning, so I didn’t have to ask my best friend Diana to walk me all the way home and up seven floors. She just walked me halfway.

By Saturday morning, nothing bad had happened. At 10:30 Diana called and wanted to go bike-riding. I knew I couldn’t get my bike down the stairs. My mom was still asleep. My dad was gone.

I tried to be quiet in the kitchen. I cleaned up last night’s dishes. The beer bottles made a huge clatter when I threw them all down the incinerator in the hallway.

Diana called again and asked when I was coming. I thought about asking her to walk over and bring my bike down the elevator. I said I would be there soon.

I made my mom a cup of black coffee, and knocked on her door. Knocked harder. Opened it a crack.

The room was dark, but I could see the shape of a big man next to my mom. My dad was small.

I closed the door. I called Diana. I asked her if we could go roller-skating instead.


Jeanne Holtzman is an aging hippie, writer and women’s health care practitioner, not necessarily in that order. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in various print and online journals including Night Train, Dogzplot, The Legendary, Swink, The Iconoclast, flashquake, Salome and Hobart.

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