Seaview: A Novel

Seaview: A Novel

Seaview: A Novel

Seaview: A Novel

Excerpt

He no longer wondered where to lay down blame or whose was the responsibility or what the responsibility was. Her body, finished with its rage, had settled in the cancer the way one slips into a tub in a dark bathroom, into hot water, and soon the skin is no longer a barrier, an integrity and definition; one becomes part of the water, the cancer. The skin goes in the way the breath does, out like a ripple of the surface of a still pool; part of a quota, it does not return. She lay in the tub, and under the water, crossing the rise of her belly, a place that was darker than water: a dark towel, taken from the blankets and pillows and towels in the back seat of the car, because it gave her some comfort. Her head rested on a rolled towel, placed where the tile and the porcelain met; chalk of the small hollow valley of her left cheek, her lips slightly parted, her shallow and stertorous breathing. The glass doors in the wall of the room beyond her were a field of light, reflection cast from the side of the rented car, up from the white gravel outside the motel room in Arizona. Occasional figures of yucca advanced, danced, and faded in the opaque field. He sat in a chair, in the dark in the side of the room, watching the gun.

The gun lay on the bed in the middle of a white towel. She sighed in the distance. It was a small, blue-metal instrument with symmetrical indentations on its surface. He liked the romance of it, his privacy and her groggy sound. He reached out with a finger and touched the tip of the butt, better aligning the L-shape with the towel’s edge.

And then he thought of the two bags of cocaine, each pressed in a Diamond Kitchen matchbox that was taped shut, in the trunk of the car, under clubs, blankets, and clothing. He thought of the way Melinda would give it up, her body slipping as her quota of breaths left her: neck, chin, and upper lip, her nose blowing feeble air against the water’s surface (small indentations, minute waves), then going under. He lifted the gun up from the towel then and put the barrel between his teeth and pulled the trigger on the empty chamber.

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