by Karen Kolb

jessica greenberg

spring 2016


It was 8AM when Bibi turned on the sink to fill the kettle.  While waiting for it to boil, she went out front to retrieve the newspaper like she did every morning. The house was almost empty.  Her two grandchildren were living in New York, her daughter had begun her early morning commute on NJTransit, and her son-in-law was just getting out of the shower before driving to the nearby university to teach physics.  Rex, the family dog, had died over three years ago, but Bibi had still not adjusted to life with no warm beings around.  In fact, Bibi still had not adjusted to life in suburban American even though she narrowly escaped Romania more than 25 years ago.  In fact, Bibi wasn’t sure she had ever felt at home.  It was this she thought about as she stepped out the front door into the icy wind, the screen door clanging shut behind her. Some smell in the wind rushed her mind in reverse, and suddenly she saw herself at a small wooden kitchen table, staring out the window, watching little flakes fall to the ground, while her mother cooked eggs from the coop for breakfast. A neighbor’s dog barked and Bibi was brought back to the current everlasting winter. She stepped down to grab the blue-bagged New York Times, but her slippered right foot slid along the frictionless ice, and she fell forward.  Her arms not quick enough to break her fall, her head did instead, smacking against the powdered front walkway.  The kettle whistled, and her son-in-law pulled on his heavy winter jacket.  When the kettle screamed, he called out “Bibi, your water is ready!” and switched off the stove, opened the back door, walked to his car, and backed out of the driveway.