I’m soooooooo sad. Like when Lisa and me were hiking the trail talking about all our secrets and she got stalked and partly eaten by a mountaincat. The stars shined that night in a fashion I’ve never seen them – small, cold and blue. I mean red, circular and fancy. I thought to myself, So small we are. So laugh-out-loud insignificant we are that in two shakes of a goblin’s wand a mountaincat can end us. At dinner Mom said, Treasure, you’re not eating. I said, I’m really sad about Lisa. Rick gave me a fork. I already had a fork. I had like nine forks. Eat something, Treasure. I just sat there and blinked my second set of eyelids. I saw Rick shiver. No, I said, pushing away my huge potato. Sour cream helps, said Rick. No, I said. If Lisa can’t, I won’t. I was feeling scientific. The baby started screaming. Drink your brandy, Mom said. Try bacon bits, offered Rick. Robby laughed and I saw the food in his mouth.
And they never found the mountaincat.
In bed that night I finally cried. I mean the tears really came, crawling down my cheeks like Robby’s matchbox cars. Lisa, I wept. Are you still here? Something was with me in the dark. The mountaincat was present. No, I pleaded. I sensed it standing on the foot of the bed. Its eyes shined.
It’s me, said Rick.
Like when I fled through the rain-wet woods hysterical and got turned around in the brush and came to my senses in the dirt road and the truck crunched past full of barking hound dogs and then the night was quiet as a chair and I thought I smelled the mountaincat. The air was still and all was quiet as a dining room set. My gills fluttered and I felt a quiver in the extra muscle in my thigh.
I write her a letter on Mom’s good stationery. Dear Lisa, is it cold there? Do you miss me? You’re so good and pretty and nice. I mean fastidious, punctual and thrifty. Sometimes I get so scared I say your name seven times fast like this: LisaLisaLisaLisaLisaLisaLisa.
It watched me while it ate; hissed, snarled. Stop it, I said. Stop eyeballing me, wild animal.
And they never found the mountaincat. I found its droppings, still warm, and broke them in my hands. I found a coat button, the tag from her panties. I remember when she bought them. Victoria’s Secret “Very Sexy.” 83% nylon. 17% Lycra. Spandex. V-string. Medium. Made in Mexico. I can never, ever forget her. I swallow the tag from her panties and drop her coat button in a baby-food jar and seal the jar in a freezer storage bag and pack the bag in a suitcase I back over with my Honda Fit before I zoom off into the mountains dense with pines where snow lies largely undisturbed beside a creek in which the mountaincat left its footprints.
I am coming, Lisa, I whisper. I am coming I am coming I am coming I am coming.