~This story was previously published in Antietam Review (2001).
Two days after her father’s funeral, Maggie found herself on a Washington, D.C. tour bus next to a man who wore a leather jacket, combat boots, and a black beret.
“How’s it goin’,” he said, zipping open his knapsack.
She looked away. “Fine.”
“Where’re you headed?”
“It’s a tour bus,” she said to the window. “I’m just headed around the city.”
“You live here?”
She turned to him. He’d taken off his hat. Perfectly bald. No hair whatsoever. And very pale with dark blue eyes. He looked like a grown baby. His eyes were that blue.
“My parents do. Did, I mean. My mother still does.” She had to concentrate to focus only on his face and not let her eyes explore the globe that was his head.
He stared at her, waiting for something, it seemed.
“My father just died.” It was the first time she’d actually said it.
“Oh.” He took out a paperback book and began to read. She watched his eyes go from left to right, left to right, reading the lines.
“He killed himself,” she said.
He looked up. “Who?”
“Oh. Was he sick?”
A wave of relief washed over her. “Sort of. He’d been depressed.”
He raised his eyebrows. “I guess so.”
She felt her face curl into a snarl. What was wrong with people?