“Remember when I told you I thought I saw something out on the road last night?”
Mariah touched him on his arm to get his attention. He looked at her then, that vacant look that says; get on with it why don’t you? He waited for her to say more; she waited for him to ask. It was always this way.
Mariah had a great imagination, was a notoriously light sleeper, had difficulty staying asleep and often stood at the window at night, surveying the shadows and wondering who else was awake at that hour.
Last night, looking out across the lawn she again thought she saw someone pacing back and forth along the road, then disappear into the woods across from their home. This time, whoever it was appeared old and bent like withered winter grass, walking slowly as if they were dragging a monumental sack of memories behind them. Her imagination was always on full alert.
“Another of your suspicious person sightings?” he said dryly.
He said everything dryly. Her husband had been here before with Mariah. He knew she could be imaginative. That used to excite him about her. But that was many, many years ago. Their marriage had faded into a blank outline that they both had trouble coloring in. She had called the police so many times to report someone outside their home at night that the officers who interviewed her, while appearing to be concerned and do their due diligence searching the woods, could never find anything, no footprints, no discarded gum wrappers, or God forbid any clothing or encampment. They always thanked her for alerting them and told her to lock her doors at night, just to be safe.
Each time she tried to tell him, she would sit quietly, waiting for him to ask her what she saw, her hands resting in her lap like two dead sparrows and look out across the road and wonder what was out there. He would remind her that these were wild imaginings that robbed her of her peace of mind. She never thought to suggest differently.