Category Archives: Virginia Watkins

Five Oranges by Virginia Watkins

It wasn’t until it was too late that I noticed that I was undeniably floating away. And, since I was already floating, it made sense to just sort of go with it. I don’t know. What could I do? My husband was clearly tethered – to his jobs: work, children, bank accounts. To hold me there, he would have to let go of something. My children might have come along, if I’d let them, but I didn’t know until it was too late. I reached for them, but it looked halfhearted – I could see it in their faces – my own relief, gratitude. To be taking off. To be floating away. Without them. My fingers reached across, over the edge, but the basket was so small, and it only held five oranges. How long would five oranges keep them happy? They ignored my weak attempt, tried to reach farther, past me to the basket, itself. But I pretended not to see them. Took the idea of them, heavy in my hand, and set it on the basket floor. And saw at once that an idea has no heat, no weight, no noise, no mess. And as fast as I had pulled my fingers back, I reached for them again. As quickly as I’d looked away, I searched for their faces, getting smaller by the second, by the inch. Five oranges was more than enough. Grab on! Too late. I was floating away and began dropping the oranges. Softly. One at a time.


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