I gave up looking for Emmett’s body and made my way back up the hillside, to the house. The dog had escaped the Invisible Fence, through the snow, without a trace of his footprints, just vanished. It was January, 1998: my mom’s birthday.

Laurent picked us up at the airport in Barcelona, June 1. The bad winds were coming; they came in sets of threes: three days, six days, nine days…the mistral.

I was confined to the apartment with Chumley, claws skittering against the tile floor, pacing, panting. The sliding glass doors hummed like a gas-powered generator, continuous tension building, no resolve.

I typed long, detailed letters to friends. Just arrived in France, stuck inside with the dog…living off cheap wine, bread, cheese.

I went back down the hill, to the creek, looking for Emmett. I imagined myself in the water, lowering myself to my hips. The weight of the water on my clothes, the current carrying me.

I closed my eyes and it went dark, but still I could see: that same, queer feeling as a kid when I had a fever and couldn’t stop the images playing behind my eyes, the feeling something inside me had grown, left my body, begun moving through space, landing here at this moment in time, 1998.

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