SOME FLASH by SEAN ENNIS

GRACE'S MELANCHOLY


I remember when Grace picked out this new floor for the kitchen and her dad said to me, “You’re not going to like it.” I thought it was so-so. When they pulled up the old floor there were dinosaur bones and mice. The coincidence that there was a ceratosaurus skull, complete with nose horn—my childhood favorite—made me think this was an intervention. But we took some pictures with it, then sold it to the Water Valley museum for green money. The mice don’t bother me and remind me of college. Who goes there?—my former roommates! Shout out to Olney, Glenside, Fox Chase, Jenkintown. These are all places in Pennsylvania, where I was schooled, where the only bones we found were of the boring, frond-eating hadrosaur, and those of my friends. But ceratosaurus was a hunter, fast as my Mazda. And if you want to see it, just go to the Water Valley Natural History museum where it’s shined up like a shark's tooth on a necklace you’d get at the beach.

But Grace is sad. The dinosaur money is spent and the new floor doesn’t look as good to her as it did in the catalog. She won’t step foot in the kitchen during the afternoon when the light from the sun is just sprawled out. She thinks I spend too much time at the museum on weekends, as if I were a painter. Work got busier for both of us. The only time we’re together is when we pass each other on the internet.

The first thing I say every morning is, “Stop”--speaking to the dogs–but it’s the mice that are eating the dog treats. Feeling lonesome, I’ve accused Grace of posing around the house with no follow up. “Stop,” I say, “or go.” The natural history between Grace and I is long and romantic, but last night she said in her sleep, “I’ll never get to be anything again.” It broke my heart, though I don’t really know what she was talking about. She can be whatever she wants! Again and again!

It’s hard to be entertained. I am not always entertained. I spent $300 once to be bored. Now something has slipped out of place for Grace. She’s trapping the mice in no-kill plastic boxes. She’s thinking about Weight Watchers. She got depressed reading an article about tree equity. When we found the dinosaur skull, I thought we were making, like, beautiful music.

 

Sean Ennis is the author of CHASE US: Stories (Little A) and more of his work can be found at seanennis.net.