SmokeLong Quarterly

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Story by Joanne Avallon (Read author interview) March 29, 2011

art by Adrian Miles

Always, I am the one. Lost children come to me. Dogs follow me. Strangers ask me for directions. Old friends look me up and take me out for drinks, traveling miles for the pleasure.

Everything comes to me.

“Kapha,” said my yoga teacher, referring to my ayurvedic personality type, which, on the negative side, is dark and brooding, but, on the positive side, is abundant and desired by all. “You are connected deeply to the earth.” I thought of the mushrooms in the shady woods behind my house, pulling themselves out of rotting tree trunks. One friend told me they were poisonous, another, more adventurous, said they were hallucinogenic. My yoga teacher’s studio was going bankrupt and she feels lucky she found me to give her financial advice.

At my house, feral cats prance out of the woods every morning and leave dead mice on the back door step. The two stray dogs that sleep under the porch chase them away, but the next morning, birds bang against my window, falling dead onto the patio and the cats return for them. Then the dogs are glad to see the cats back.

I rented a cottage on a stony outcrop of an island and took my family there for vacation with the idea that a granite rock would somehow be the perfect antidote for a kapha and that’s where the old boyfriend, his wife and children found me, sitting outside a coffee shop with a lost child waiting for her parents to return. The girl had smeared the ice cream I bought her on my jeans. My old boyfriends’ children were beautiful; his wife gorgeous and, through my heart’s jealous rumblings, I heard it ask how much more kapha did I expect it to take.

The lost girl found a dollar bill on the sidewalk and shoved it into my coat pocket with a wad of old chewing gum stuck to it. A stranger came up and asked me directions.

“I am not from here,” I said.

“That’s all right,” he said, “I don’t need to get there right away,” and he sat down next to us, too. I was sitting with my old boyfriend, his stunning wife, his beautiful children, a lost child, a stranger and my dark heart.

My own family was missing. Tired of the commotion around me. Of everyone needing me when they need me most. They were somewhere brooding and becoming kapha, too. Everybody will be drawn to them, but they will be alone.

About the Author

Joanne Avallon is a freelance writer living in the Boston area. Her work has appeared in Sundog, The Norton Anthology of Microfiction and BlinkInk. A story of hers is also forthcoming in FictionNow.

About the Artist

More of Adrian Miles’ photography can be see on Flickr.

This story appeared in Issue Thirty-One of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Thirty-One

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