The Grapevine

Marcy Dilworth

Editorial note from Sara Siddiqui: In her vivid and concise story, Marcy Dilworth describes the wisp of energy and enthusiasm a somber event like death brings to the tedium of small-town life. Imaginations run rampant, facts are distorted, and the truth lays buried alongside the dead under the versions of evolved falsities. Coming from a small town myself, the story resonates strongly with me. I thank Marcy for sharing this piece with me and invite everyone to read it.

I heard he drowned in his backyard hot tub, a massive heart attack killed him, he had dementia, he’d over-medicated, he passed out when his blood sugar dropped, he’d downed too much wine, it had been a long-time coming, it was a complete surprise, his wife found him and couldn’t drag him out, the lawn guy came upon him and did the sign of the cross, the neighbor hopped over the fence to check on him, broken fingernails suggested a struggle, he looked peaceful when the paramedics got to him, his skin was red like a Maine lobster, his skin shimmered a gray-green ghostly pale, there was nothing anyone could have done, if he hadn’t been alone he could have been saved, his wife was away on business, his wife had just run to the store, no funeral took place, the church overflowed with grievers, he was interred on a hill in the sun, he was scattered on the ocean during a spitting rain, his wife was stoic, his wife had a wandering eye, his wife fell apart, she’d have the house on the market in a heartbeat, she’d stay in the house forever, she’d chopped the hot tub to shards; I heard her keen through open windows on summer nights, the skitch of her shovel as it dug into soil, her sobs as she filled the hot tub with dirt and white lilies.

Marcy Dilworth is a recovering finance professional finally pursuing her love of writing. Her stories have appeared in Literary Mama, FlashFlood Journal, Blink-Ink, the This is What America Looks Like anthology by Washington Writers’ Publishing House, and elsewhere. She lives in Virginia with her husband where they serve their precocious rescue pup, Kirby. Oh, and she has a couple wonderful kids. On Twitter: @MarcyDilworth.