There are two roaches near the butter. Butter melting out of its waxed wrapper, yet still a geometry of mild yellow. Two roaches, that’s terrible, but even as Callie says this a little bit aloud, she leaves them to their brittle work of flaying civilization. That world of others she ignores and their record of rivers and columns and spices and dyes. She adds flour to butter bubbling in a copper-plated sauce pan, and her roux begins. Warm like a mix of all the sunlight of all the seasons, the smell. And the puling of air escaping from the tender ocher mud.
This husband from Connecticut. Hare. Punning Harry and heir. Sort of hears Callie, sort of doesn’t. Cigarette smoke hisses very softly out of his mouth in careless response. He’s sitting at the breakfast bar drinking a vodka martini. Three in the afternoon, but a large apartment in Manhattan can make one start early. Hare hasn’t noticed the roaches. Not his job. Never has been. And if God kept giving the rich what they knew they were worth, roaches never would be, Hare is sure. After he divorces Callie, he’ll still be rich. And his next wife will or will not ignore roaches, but she’ll see them and he shall not.
Transported via delivery man and handed over to housekeeper, the two roaches have ridden into this palace tucked in the bottom flap of a paper sack they’d been eating at the market. Then rustled open, the bag loosely packed with lettuce. Several delicate structures in a precarious situation unmolested by gravity or other dangers. If you’ve got an open circulatory system and are wildly vulnerable to any introduction of soap or worse to your tidy body, you’re lucky every day you live. Something like breathing marking your existence. Tracheal valves opening to allow in oxygen, replacing carbon dioxide, lungless, the whole physique a be-tubed gas exchange machine. In and out, alive. Not joyful, no, but surrounded by sustenance: delicious heavy brown paper, delicious glue, maybe butter — oh, delicious life.about the author