Lake Effect, Volume 26: "We Do So Wish"

We Do So Wish

By Jen Ashburn

     Because we’re short on money and by nature frugal, we’re staying at an EconoLodge where the patent-leather tar of molten cinder glistens along the side of the road, though we’re visiting a ski resort. There is no skiing or snow—just cold rain from a nor’easter that hit New Jersey last night and stretched clear across the Pennsylvania Commonwealth. We’re always visitors in the off-season, asking directions through the rolled-down window of our Honda to places we heard are nice, on the lookout for a bathroom or coffee shop.

     The ski resort is hosting a dog show. There are English setters everywhere, with waves of shiny hair trimmed below the snout, beneath the belly, behind the legs. They glide like angels in perfectly tailored gowns.

     Because we’re writers, we’ve brought our Rigoberto Gonzalez and Edna O’Brien, our notebooks and pens. We’re sitting at a table, scribbling our lines, when your mother—because she loves you and thinks we’re still in Pittsburgh—calls to say a gunman has opened fire in a synagogue two miles from our home.

     And because we don’t know what else to do, we continue to write in our notebooks. We continue to look out the window, where English setters are pranced in circles in the parking lot for no apparent reason, though they are, I must admit, beautiful.

     And because we don’t want to go back to our budget hotel, we foolishly go bowling. And as we hurl the marble spheres across the maple and pine, and as our slick-bottomed shoes slide our bodies askew, I think of Margaret Atwood, who said, “We do so wish to believe in a logical universe.”

     And I think, yes, yes.

     But there are only English setters and bowling pins.