Fiction · 03/14/2018

Glass House

When she returned to Dauphine Street after the funeral, she removed the draperies from every window of their monstrous house before she removed even her patent-leather heels, which made ascending and descending the stepladder difficult, even foolish. But she wanted no gossip.

Let the whole Marigny regard her life through the clean glass. Let all of the Vieux Carré know her comings and goings, witness the perfection of her solitary grief as she took her breakfast or worked on her embroidery, always alone. Let the whole of New Orleans know that the man who delivered packages was only the man who delivered packages, the plumber only the plumber, the carpenter only a man carrying a hammer and nails.

“Live in my absence as though it is a large house.”

That had been his deathbed wish, and she would be faithful to it as she had never been to him. So much easier to live alone than with just one other.

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Elise Blackwell is the author of five novels, most recently The Lower Quarter. Her short prose has appeared in The Atlantic, Witness, Brick, 3:AM Magazine, and other publications. Her work has been named to several best-of-the-year lists, translated into multiple languages, adapted for the stage, and served as inspiration for a Decemberists’ song. She lives in the American South.