The morning of the funeral, I circled my childhood bedroom in a terry cloth robe. Pacing between the closet and the bedspread, I added and subtracted touches on two perfect outfits. One launched my escape, the other cinched my fate. The first: raw denim jeans with a fashionable tear, a sheer long-sleeve blouse with bohemian sleeves, crisp white Keds and a gold tassel necklace. The second: a black boatneck dress with a hem below the knee, black leather pumps and freshwater pearls. The bare legs were a question mark—it was too warm for tights, but I was too young for pantyhose. Summer was fading, the air smelled like pines. My tiled balcony reflected the morning sun, casting the flowers on my silk duvet in an orange glow. I could almost taste the dew on the secret garden that lulled me to sleep. What sort of woman would I be if I remembered my dreams?
I walked to my vanity and slid the newspaper off my laptop. Chewing on my index finger to spare my manicure, I googled Should mistress go to wife’s funeral? According to the internet, I was the first person in history in this predicament.
Brenda Salinas Baker Brenda Salinas Baker is an MFA student studying Fiction at The Writer’s Foundry at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, where she studies under Lee Clay Johnson, Cleyvis Natara, Andre Martin, and Steven Hobbs. She was recently a finalist for the Breakwater Review 2021 Fiction Contest.