Authors: Joy Williams
Copyright © 2013 by Joy Williams
All rights reserved
Cover image © Getty Images
San Francisco, California
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A woman who adored her mother, and had mourned her death every day for years now, came across some postcards in a store that sold antiques and various other bric-a-brac. The postcards were of unexceptional scenes, but she was drawn to them and purchased several of wild beaches and forest roads. When she got home, she experienced an overwhelming need to send a card to her mother.
What she wrote was not important. It was the need that was important.
She put the card in an envelope and sent it to her mother’s last earthly address, a modest farmhouse that had long since been sold and probably sold again.
Within a week she received a letter, the writing on the envelope unmistakably her mother’s. Even the green ink her mother had favored was the same.
The woman never opened the letter, nor did she send any other postcards to that address.
The letter, in time, though only rumored to still exist, caused her children, though grown, much worry.
The breeder of the black German shepherds said her kennel was in Sedona, a place known far and wide for its good vibrations, its harmonic integrity. But the kennel was actually in Jerome, thirty miles away, an unnerving ghost town set above a vast pit from which copper ore had been extracted. The largest building in Jerome was the old sanatorium, now derelict. The town’s historian insisted that it had served all the population in the town’s heyday, not just the diseased and troubled, and that babies had even been born there.
In any case, the dog coming from Jerome rather than Sedona was telling, people thought.
Another something that could be the basis of the dog’s behavior was the fact that her mistress always wore sunglasses, day and night. Like everybody else, the dog never got to see her eyes. When the woman had people over, she placed a big bowl of sunglasses outside the front door and everyone put on a pair before entering. It was easier than locking the dog in the bedroom.
A noted humanist was invited to take part in a discussion about the dangers and opportunities which would arise if intelligent life forms on other planets were discovered. His remarks, though no one disagreed with them, became so heated that the producers later, in light of what had happened, decided to edit him out of the program.