Nellie Jablonski


white house 2

He had nothing that I wouldn’t put up with for anything less than a two dollar whistle. That’s the kind that when you blow through it, made out of wood, it sounds just like a train, a locomotive. And by the time you were done with me, you’d have wished you’d blown a tunnel through the rocky side of the Rocky Mountains. I’d been to the Canadian part of that, Banff Springs Hotel, where on every floor they had a color-coordinated team of maids for each floor they had different uniforms for, all dressed pretty, like Cover Girl models all from Ethiopia all stuck in the snow without visas to go anywhere else, every one of them dark-skinned, thin-boned, and beautiful as a snowflake each one of them. One of these girls was bending down in the room on the rug with a perfect corner view to the outside looking for my lost gold earring next to the bed, and I was no longer looking for it myself. I was looking out the window, at the ridges, at the escarpments, all the crags, at all the places that if you knew what you were doing you could do that and climb it, climb those Canadian Rockies with all the mountain-climbing gadgets or pulleys or springs or ropes that you need to do that with. I’m sure my husband was looking at her ass on the floor there but we were already married so what did it matter to me, if anything? This ring on my finger, I’d wanted to show her, it cost him over 15K, and I would have told it to her right like that. “More than fifteen K.” And she could have kept my lost earring. And I would have given her the other one too, to pair it off with, pulled the stem right out the back and handed both of them to her, right like that, just hoping for even one of those real glass snow globes from the souvenir store downstairs in the lobby that was an exact replica of the hotel itself before they’d put on the addition that he’d promised once to give to me if we ever came back there to be mine, which was more than twenty years back now that I never got.



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