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The Exact Coordinates of Eleanor

The Exact Coordinates of Eleanor

 

BY KATHLEEN JONES

 

Eleanor made sure she was drunk for the moon landing. Downed three shots of whiskey alone in the kitchen. In the bathroom, she swished Listerine, spat into the sink.

Helen already stood at the front door with Eleanor’s mother-in-law, Martine. “Let’s go!” Eleanor said brightly, locking the door behind them because Martine would complain if she didn’t. They walked down the block. The whiskey bloomed.

The Hendersons were snobs, but they offered television, a big living room, cocktails and canapes. Helen perched on a sofa; Eleanor sat beside her on the carpeted floor. Her hand nudged a narrow wooden sofa leg, her fingers landing in a crevice of hair and grit. A man spoke of coordinates and space dust, and Eleanor transferred her fingertips to Helen’s ankle.

“It isn’t real,” crowed Martine. “It’s theater!” Everyone in the neighborhood looked at her, aghast.

Eleanor wasn’t embarrassed. Martine didn’t know anything; she’d seen her son in a casket but didn’t believe he was dead. There was a moon, and there was almost a man on it, there was dirt in space and dirt on her hand, and even the living room—so far below—had an orbit and a taste and a plan.


 

Kathleen Jones is a writer and designer who lives and works in Wilmington, North Carolina. She has an MFA in Poetry from UNC Wilmington, and her work is available in Rust + MothMeridian, Grist Online Companion, and more. Find her on Twitter @kathleenejones.

Illustration by Meghan Murphy

Read more about Esmé Weijun Wang


 

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