Dead strangers called out sometimes, and left dumb dimes on the esplanade, the ramparts, under the McDonogh tree. The Lafayette Cemetery is full of vaults that are really ovens. I find dimes there, too.
I sat down in the streetcar named Clio—she’s the goddess of history and time—and we shared the trolley with the bride and bridesmaids. We left them some goodwill but kept some to spare, and at that Italian restaurant: Remember, she nudged, that dime? I origamied a dollar and set a shiny Poydras Street dime in it, and we gave the old man at the next table a dime-in-ring for his birthday.
On his way out, the old man’s son stopped to shake hands with me, and said it was their last family dinner, likely, as Dad was on the fourth and final stage, and it meant the world to all of them that he got an unexpected and whimsical gift. The dime was a 1936, like Dad.
Clio told me to sit straight and eat my peas that meal: I knew how to make that folded toy, from memory, only that once.
I like being in a place where people call me sugar. They pronounce it shhhuggggh. The oven of my ear never wearies of its burning.
Anne Elizabeth Weisgerber has stories published or forthcoming in The Airgonaut, Tahoma Literary Review, Pure Slush, and The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts. She is a freelance fiction editor. When not teaching, she’s working on a novel that spans five generations. Follow her @AEWeisgerber, or visit anneweisgerber.com
Photo by Pghjared