by Christopher Iacono

Eddie wanted one of the chair desks thrown on the front lawn of his old high school. A few feet from a large pile of them sat one lone chair desk, upside down. He turned it over. The desk part had a scratch across the top, probably from being thrown out a broken window, but it was still in one piece.

After securing the chair desk in the bed of his pick-up, he drove down Main Street. He decided to go to the cemetery to visit Amelia.

The quiet hum of the motor filled the inside of the vehicle. After making a left turn onto IA-141, he blocked out everything—the hum, the green grass and trees on the side of the road occasionally broken up by small houses, even the gas station with its white and red sign. It wasn’t until he saw the river that he realized he had missed his turn. He had to drive another mile before pulling into a small dirt road to reverse direction.

At the cemetery, he removed his baseball cap and held it in front of his waist. He didn’t pray. He gazed at the book and apple engraved on Amelia Walker’s gravestone while the sun was burning his balding crown.

After a few minutes, he made the sign of the cross and went back in his truck.

At home, he opened the garage door and set the chair desk in the middle. He sat down, his gut snug against the desk. He shifted in his chair to try to get more comfortable, but no matter what, his belly was getting in the way. He chuckled. Thank God I wasn’t fat in high school.

He looked up. The sun turned the chrome on the grill of his pick-up to white, reminding him of chalk. A woman stepped in front of the grill and erased it. A green chalkboard appeared in its place.

‘Now we’re going to open our books to chapter 14,’ she said.

Eddie turned around. A red-haired girl was sitting diagonally from him. She smiled, and he smiled back. She leaned across the desk to hand him a note. He reached for it, but it disappeared. And so did the girl.

He sighed, then extracted himself out of the chair desk. His wife was standing in the doorway, folding her arms.

‘What are you doing?’ she asked.

‘Nothing.’ He passed her on his way out of the garage.

‘What is that?’

‘Just junk.’

Christopher Iacono lives with his wife and son in Massachusetts. You can learn more about him at cuckoobirds.org