Emily had thought to herself, in one of her classic, silent early morning fits, that it was surprisingly warm and that the entire day would be much or less comprised of the same sweaty and glowing complexion on her face, making it impossible for make-up. Her arms and legs spread in all directions across her bed, feeling the lumps and folds the silk sheets made with her fingers and her toes. She clenched onto their smoothness, their coolness, and then released them to feel the cold tickle its way under her skin and disappear into her veins. She stared at the tiny hills the acrylic made on her bedroom ceiling and lingered on a bitter-sour taste in her mouth from her "self-prescribed" glass of Chardonnay. It was never too early for Chardonnay and she had once thought it to be the root of all good things in her life, a generic sort of happiness forthe mundane life she had lead so far where periods of talking to oneself and diving in the bath were one's only comforts. Yes, Chardonnay was necessary, she concluded one evening, because there are just too many things for one to deal with at once and oh, so little time. It was the very same reason, she reflected, she had stopped drinking the golden liquid later on in her life, slowly dwindling the "prescription" down from five to three and from three to one every morning.

Doctor's orders. She giggled. The very thought of her being a doctor, let alone one who would prescribe cheap wine for depression was side-splitting. She sighed her breath away to prevent herself from laughing. It wasn't right to laugh by yourself, she thought, such things were for "crazies" as Anne would say. It was perfectly acceptable to cry alone, to scream alone, to be alone,but to laugh alone was unacceptable. "To do such a thing," her mouth trembled into a smile in the excitement of remembering, "would be like surrendering to the demons in your head!" Emily tightened her lips to dash away her smile. Remembering her Anne and St. Christopher's was like watching a comedy in the middle of the afternoon. It made one want to hide under a blanket and turn into a brainless potato, hidden from view, one's connection with the rest of the world severed, simply alone with one's thoughts and memories, remembering times one could no longer find herself in but wished to return to.

"Hurry, or she'll catch us!" Anne yelled at Emily from downstairs as Emily squeezed the last drops of ketchup all over her mother's bed. Emily was twelve again and suddenly remembered her heart pacing and a grin on her face, as she tossed the empty bottle underneath, and pulled the comforters over her handiwork. Such a mischievous little girl she was, Emily thought. She had hated her home (and her mother) since she was twelve, ever since her father died. It had started one July, Emily began in her head, piecing the memories together, when she was in sixth grade at St. Christopher's. Anne had passed a letter to her asking if she liked Jack, the boy with the buzz cut, to which she replied with a "no" and a drawing of a cat. Emily followed the folds in the paper and refolded it exactly as it was, pressing it with her palm on her desk and then handing it back to Anne who, after reading it, replied, her eyes with a steady coolness, by mouthing a word for Emily to read. "Liar." Their eyes bit at each other, and the older Emily couldn't help but wonder about the complexity of her and Anne's relationship. They were only little girls back then, she thought, making out their desks on her bedroom ceiling, and already under each other's skin. It was what bonded the two together, she realized, honesty in words and in feelings, built by trust and understanding and most of all, fearlessness.

After class, Emily was called to the teacher's office where there was a phone call waiting for her. She remembered being guided in by Sister Andrews, who smelled like cigarettes, and her old hands lightly brushing her back toward the receptionist's desk where the telephone was. Sister Margaret, a small, plump, young nun, who would later succeed Sister Andrews after she died of lung cancer a year after, met them there and handed Emily the telephone with a face that Emily couldn't read or identify. Emily received the telephone and brought it to her ear with both hands. "Dear, I don't know how to say this…" Her mother's voice sounded distant, she was calling from a pay phone nearby her office, the people there were always stingy about employees using their phones Emily remembered. Fortunately, there was a phone booth in front of the Chinese Restaurant Emily had received a fortune cookie with a biblical passage inside on her tenth birthday from. "The meek shall inherit the earth." "Emily, your father is dead." The words were followed by a muffled whimpering to which Emily replied with silence and, shortly afterwards, a slow, emotionless handing of the phone back to Sister Margaret, who looked at her with more of that unidentifiable expression.

Emily didn't cry. Instead she walked outside to recess and rejoined Anne and the other kids. Being a child, having to deal with a situation she thought would only have an adverse affect on the rest of her life, and even back then she knew this Emily had thought she had handled the whole ordeal pretty well. When her classmates asked what had happened she told it exactly how it was at first. "Your dad died?" They all asked, as if to reconfirm what she had just said. "Yeah, a car accident." Emily's eyes shifted to the floor, in her mind, writing out some sort of bizarre story to tell as a reprisal to what she read on her classmates' faces as a "mock effort" to being concerned . Emily thought it best, at the time, to give them a show. "Yeah, his car flipped off the road and landed upside down. He was crushed, and when they found him, all his bones were broken and his eyes had popped out of his head." Emily continued her story with more disgusting details, even going as far as to devote five whole minutes to describing/making up the details of her father's skin liquefying (after, of course, she had said the car had burst into flames). Anne, the only one not buying it, remained silent behind the crowd who, Emily remembered fondly, were just eating the lies coming out of her mouth. When the bell rang everyone left but Anne, and as she began to place her hand on Emily's shoulder as the only gesture of some kind of sincere condolences Emily could've believed, Emily had grabbed it and pulled her with her into a sprint back to class.

If she had let Anne rub her arms she would have embarrassed herself, Emily thought, because shortly after her father's funeral Emily's mother began bringing men home. Its halls had become breeding grounds for the loathing and hate, mischief and destruction, that Emily felt (and still felt, even today) she needed and her mother deserved. It was a justified evolution to Emily's character, she thought, because anger and sadness were all the same excuse for the curious hands and wandering feet children her age had and used. And, after all, Emily was only growing into an older version of herself and it was only necessary to become this troublemaker to show off her resistance to the adult world.

"Did you do it?" Anne said, looking at Emily coming down the stairs. On that particular night Emily had remembered, her mother had gone on a date with Richard Ashad, a business man she had met at work, and to keep herself company (because her mother didn't believe in sitters) Emily had invited Anne over to watch TV. When that got boring the two decided to microwave hotdogs and, in the midst of dressing them thought of something else they could do. Emily remembered smiling to confirm the deed was complete. The two then ran to the window in the living room and watched Emily's mother and Ashad pull up in the driveway and stumble outside of his car, pink and drunk. Emily had never seen her mother like that before, but, she thought, that was probably how she was like before she married her father, like a tower of dirt that had collapsed in a storm, now, only a puddle of mud yearning to be built up again. Emily only saw such a disposition as pathetic.

They were at the door already and Emily and Anne could hear the keys jingling and the knob shake open. The two girls migrated quickly to the couch in the living room and pretended to be asleep. Emily listened in the dark, the sound of the front door's hinges swinging back and forth, the door closing and locking, and her mother and Ashad tiptoeing through the room and up the stairs into her mother's room. The door to the bedroom closed, then, shortly afterwards, as Emily had anticipated, a brief shriek was heard followed by the sound of the door opening and a pair of feet frantically rushing down the staircase and stopping in front of the couch. "Emily!" Emily perked one eye open then proceeded in breathing in and yawning slowly, stretching her arms up and her legs out above the floor. Her mother was in front of them, her hands on her hips, wearing a blue cocktail dress. Anne's eyes remained closed, still pretending to be asleep. "What, what is it mother?" Emily said sleepily. "Emily, don't play with me, I know you did this." Emily's mother turned her hip and showed off the ketchup stains on the backside of her dress. Anne started giggling, her eyes still closed. Emily elbowed her in the shoulder. "Shh!" "Anne, go home!" Emily's mother pointed at the door, looking at Anne, who, upon hearing her name, immediately opened her eyes, hugged Emily goodbye, and stepped off the couch toward home. After the door had opened and closed Emily's mother had squatted to Emily's eye-level and looked at her, her face was full of exhaustion. "Emily, why are you doing this to me?" Emily only looked at her, expressionless, then proceeded off the couch and toward the stairs, up to her room, brushing past her mother's shoulder, the air between them lightly picking up her salon-done hair. As she lied back in her bed she could hear her mother crying and Emily couldn't help but feel satisfied.

Emily turned on her side, returning back to her room, a wind nipping at her feet and ruffling the blinds from an open sliding door. She looked at her dresser then at her sheets, pieces of the sun now hitting them, their red glow making a warm, pink haze. What did it all matter anymore? She thought. Her father, her mother, Anne-she had all left them now, taking from them what seemed to be nothing now but mid-day comforts to her boring life. She had moved into the city after high school, far from Saint Christopher's, gotten a job at a diner for a stable wage, had married a businessman out of wedlock, and spent her days since then ironing and watching infomercials alone, in an empty house, until eight in the evening, when she would retire for the night with a glass of Chardonnay, and listen as Sarah came home an hour later, sometimes with a boy, sometimes not, and fall asleep to the music Sarah would put on in her room. Then, when Emily awoke, Peter would be there in the morning, they would have sex, drink Chardonnay and then she'd make breakfast which Peter would take nothing of but the toast, then he'd leave for work again followed by ( if they hadn't left already) Sarah and one of her boyfriends, shirtless, and Emily would offer them some food to which they would decline politely in taking as well. Such was the groove of things Emily had learned to understand and accept. The old names had been replaced with the new and such and such, she thought. Like the ocean washing away foot prints on the coast, over and over again, until the end of time.

But this too, she thought, will be erased as well, eventually. This repetitious sequence of things, this mundane life to which memory and chardonnay were her only escape, this life, so different from her life before it and the life before that, would fall victim to circumstance and she could see it already. She could feel it. Emily picked up Peter's glass and took a generous sip, he hadn't come that morning and, upon hearing the news, Sarah would probably, she thought, be much or less the same.