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The Spirits Up

Since Halloween, her strange parents were even stranger with one another. Her dad was the loneliest person in the world, always thinking of his machine. Poppy figured her father was lonely and distracted without ever feeling so. It was his choice.

Maybe it was worse, this past month, because maybe he knew his wife was talking to lawyers about divorcing him. Poppy understood her mom’s feelings, especially since Blaine had abandoned her. It was like her mom had lost something, a jewel or an amulet she needed to be her finest self again, the woman she used to be. Her mom could not find the jewel anywhere and had probably stopped looking.

It used to be Poppy’s greatest fear that her parents would divorce. Lots of kids at school went from house to house, parent to parent, and dealt with stepmoms and stepdads, stepbrothers and stepsisters. Poppy could tell it bothered them but it was normal, at least. Their parents were normal. Their sisters were normal. It wasn’t Poppy’s greatest fear anymore, that her mom and dad would divorce. Her greatest fear was something like this: there is a monster in the house and only she can hear it howling and at any moment it will crawl into her bedroom and devour her.

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