2380 Market Street
When her husband died she developed a fear of open places. It happened suddenly. One morning she walked outside and the world was one great vista. Trees were flying off in space. There seemed a mile of lawn between her house and the neighbor's clothesline.
She called the grocer and was bubbly when he arrived. She gave him a large tip and hoped he would notice nothing unusual.
She felt this fear made her vulnerable. So she looked in the mirror to see if she appeared to a different person. She rehearsed her speech to the grocer which she had already made. 'Put the box on the kitchen table and here's a dollar for your trouble. Lovely day. Lovely day.' She tried this several times with different inflections.
Even the house itself seemed large and overwhelming. So she began living in one room. She slept on the kitchen table, put the TV on top of the refrigerator, her cosmetic case on the stove. And the days began to run together like a pack of Alaskan wolves trying to elude the light plane, the scope of a carbine.
Her skin became Melba toast. Her life closed in around itself like a butter dish. No matter who telephoned, she was too busy. The neighborhood children called her The Mean Witch of Market Street.
One day some child broke her kitchen window. She flew into the child's soul. It was quiet, soft and confident. She lives there now, waiting for when the child marries, celebrates a golden anniversary, has grandchildren, loses a spouse, awakes one morning to find the world one great vista.
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