• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 12
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Memories of Everyone Else’s Colorado

Perhaps if she and Gideon had lived in the kind of place everyone thinks about when they think about Colorado they’d still be married. Study the picture on the calendar, Mary told herself. This is where you should have lived.

What if they had moved up in the mountains, to the suburb of a ghost town, where the streets were unpaved ruts and the gate was wooden, something that Gideon could have built himself. He was handy. She would have been happy to bake bread for him, boil wild berries for jam, wash their kids’ diapers by hand. She would have gone barefoot for him then.

Taller than the mountains in the picture, the mountains in Colorado would have kept them safe. From his family, her family, his coach, his teammates, their wives, and the neighbors. They could have gone barefoot. Maybe they would have worn work boots. She would have admired her young, handsome husband as he did this and that around their log cabin and their girls romped in fields of tall grass. She’d have picked off the ticks.

She tried to imagine if they’d have electricity. Probably they’d have a generator. Her father would have made sure of that. She and Gideon would dance to their old records, so old that they were from the time before they were born. She remembered how they had met at a swing dance on campus, how he wore suspenders, how he swung her once twice several times. She remembered how they danced at Married Student Housing until the downstairs neighbors banged on the pipes. In her Colorado, no one would care if they strutted barefoot across the dirt floor to The Byrds’ “Mary, Mary.” Maybe the girls would have danced too in their energetic, awkward way.


Memories of Everyone Else’s Colorado

Mary looked away from the calendar and swallowed the last of her cold coffee. Then she tried to catch her daughter’s eye. Ava seemed stunned to be in her mother’s house, the place she had always begged to visit.

“Ava, Ava, listen to me,” she whispered, almost too low for the red-haired girl to hear. “It wasn’t all bad. I loved your father and you and Nevaeh. I still do. But I couldn’t…”