Excerpt from Pomegranate Juice by Antoinette Mehler

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The following story appears in Tiferet’s Summer 2017 issue. The entire issue is available for immediate digital download.

      There it was again. A loud, frantic intake of breath. Raw baying gasps followed by a hoarse sigh of release.

      She’s finally coming out of it, Tío Abram whispered, It’s been a year. But you know that. It’s why you’re here.

      His words, a bell-like chiseling in my skull, fell on each other like marble chips. Yes, I thought, My father’s headstone. Tío Abram lit a cigarette and reached for my suitcase. My mother laughed that strange laugh again. It’s going to be a long week. I pulled my Chesterfields from my purse.

*

      The day after the ceremony she got her hair done. Her nails, too.

      In the days that followed she bought new clothes; rented an apartment; adopted a cocker spaniel for whom she set a place at her table (I don’t like to eat alone, she explained when I stared); found a hostess’ job at a guesthouse that sat across the street from a green common crowded with Queñuas—small-leaved evergreens with thick, red, peeling bark that, when Quito was still a forest, were home to great colored parrots and toucans.

ANTOINETTE MEHLER holds a Ph.D. in Human Development. “Pomegranate Juice” is an excerpt of a semi-autobiographical novel represented by the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. Previous excerpts were published by Narrative Magazine, Jewish Literary Journal, and another earned an honorable mention from Glimmer Train Magazine. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.