My father told us stories every night about strange little ani- mals that came out in the dark. When my father was away, my mother read us fairy tales that always ended in marriage. Sometimes, when I missed my father, I slept under my bed in mourning and the mice crawled all around me. * I stand at the window of a bridal shop where huge dresses hang ghostly in the dark. At the back is a collection of veils like a row of sleeping jellyfish. One whole wall of the shop is a mass of white cloth. The wedding dresses are enormous. They are twice as big as me, and bigger than any woman on the street. *
This is the year that everyone is trying to fly around the world in a balloon. I don't know why.
Reprinted from The Balloonists by Eula Biss. Copyright © 2002 by Eula Biss. Reprinted by permission of Hanging Loose Press. All rights reserved.