Scott Garson

On the road we played games.

“R,” said the two-year old, Sammy.

“We’re not on R, we’re on F,” said his sister.


“Sammy’s right,” my husband intervened. “‘Restaurant.’ R.”

“We’re not on that!”

* * *

We kept going at lunch.

“One day Monday I had a question and my question was this,” Ellie said. “Can an omelet take a nap?”

Sammy laughed.

“If it’s tired,” I deadpanned.

They laughed.

“I’m an omelet! I’m snoring!” said Ellie.

“Now Tuesday,” my husband went.

* * *

The kids had just stirred and risen from sleep to find they were still strapped in their car seats. We went on.

“I’m orange.”

“You’re not orange,” Sammy told me.

“Ask questions.”

“Are you nice?” said Ellie.

“Not so nice.”

“Are you mean?”

“Could be. Ask something else.”

* * *

And then singing, each her own song.

“Non!” I belted out. “Je ne regrette rien! Non! Rien de rien!”

“Are we there?” called Sammy.

And his sister: “What’s Mommy singing?”

“Edith Piaf,” their father said.

“What’s it mean?”

“That she doesn’t regret anything.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Ni le bien! Ni le mal!”


“Are. We. There?”

* * *

In the hotel Sammy kept at it. We walked down the hall. It was long and perfectly square. It was silent.

“Where are we going, Tasha?” he whispered.


“I’m Pablo, you’re Tasha,” he said.

“We’re going to get ice. Quit pulling my skirt down, Sammy.”

“I’m not Sammy, I’m Pablo.”

The ice machine hummed. When the cubes clattered into the box, he jumped back. "Is it scary?” he asked.

I looked at him. His expression didn’t falter. I swept him up into my arms. "I love you I love you I love you,” I breathed.

“Tasha, put me down, Tasha.”

* * *

In the pool we played chase. I was suddenly bored. “Last time,“ I said. “Just one more time.” The pool was enclosed. Light from it scaled the walls that circulated our voices.

* * *

When the kids had been safely guided into their sleep, one in each bed, we sat at the table. We sipped whiskey from cups that shaped and reshaped themselves in our hands. I kept on.

“You’ve taken a terrible blow to the head,” I said. “You awake without memory. What do you see?”

My husband made a face of dismay, then nodded, coming to terms with the premise.

“No, it’s a question. You wake up. You recall nothing at all. Look around.”

“I see my wallet. I see your cell phone, with the Nirvana ringtone.”

“It’s not ringing. You don’t know it’s Nirvana.”

“I see two kids. A beautiful little girl with a daisy done on her cheek in yellow and white face paint.”

“You see a daisy?”


“If there’s a daisy done on the cheek of that girl, it must be against the pillow.”

“I’m tired."

* * *

Alone I continued. I leaned in on my wrists. I leaned up to the mirror. An old game. My expressions. My face. Someone who knows you: what will he know?




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