She was dry. She was lying on something soft. She was wrapped in quilts. There was a star of light drifting above her, and a smell like a herb garden. Taggle was a long warmth stretched out at one side, his chin in her hand, his tail curled over her neck. She thought they might be in heaven. Taggle farted. Plain Kate coughed and sneezed. And then she really was awake.
Dad and I leave town in the early dark. It's the second Sunday of the holidays, and we pack up the old blue car with enough clothes for summer and hit the road. It's so early he's wiping hills of sand piled in the corners of his eyes. I wipe a few tears from mine. Tears don't pile, though. They grip and cling and slide in salty trails that I taste until the edge of the city.