Geraldine was outside in the courtyard.  In between the rain storms, taking advantage of the sun and wind, she’d strung up her mother’s rug on the communal clothes line. Standing in the shadows of the building, she raised the carpet beater and slapped the rug with decision. As the dust flew, Geraldine thought about her mother.  Perhaps it was time to go and clean the pines needles from the grave. She hadn’t been in a while, and she thought she’d try to persuade her sister to join her this time. Whack! She beat the top again, starting over from the beginning.  Bert stood in his window across the courtyard and watched Geraldine beat the rug on the clothes line. The dark rug was an unimaginative and heavy imitation of an Oriental carpet.  Small, murky, and just large enough to cover a card table. He remembered drinking coffee at Geraldine’s house when they were teenagers, his cup resting on the dull pattern. He’d tried courting Geraldine, her mother disapproved of him. Undeterred he’d redoubled his efforts. Lost in pleasant reminiscing, his thoughts once again centered around the jiggling of Geraldine’s chest under her autumn cardigan as she set about her household chores.  Now featuring a zipper, the cardigan used to have buttons which somehow seemed more exciting to him. (Text P. Abbott)

 

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