I am at an old boyfriend’s parents’ place. They’ve died, and I’ve inherited everything. He and I are no longer speaking – we were never all that close, and we don’t have anything to say. As I walk through the house, I can’t think why I’ve inherited.
The house is very beautiful, with simple lines and lots of glass walls. It is at the top of a steep hill that is thick with complicated rabbit warrens, all whitewashed stone and clay and glass. None of the houses have any surfaces that are more than one floor up from the earth, but because the hill is so steep and the houses so thickly built, there is a sense of a massive, towering edifice, with floors connected by narrow alleys and stairways so steep they are more like ladders.
My mother comes to visit me, and we are at the bottom of the hill when there is a flood advisory. We rush up the hill, and we talk about the house, which she hasn’t seen yet. When we get to it, my old boyfriend is inside. He has made a cup of tea and is watching the floodwaters rise in the distance below. We do not speak.
My mother and I start going through the rooms of the house, culling out things that don’t quite match with most of the contents of the various rooms. I am packing things to give to my old boyfriend.
When I look out the window again, it’s night, and I look through the glass roof into the sky. It is dense with stars, as in a developing country that cannot afford to have light pollution. You can clearly see the outline of the lower part of the African continent, with a completely thawed Antarctica balanced on its cape, curved up into the sky like an enormous breaking wave.