Kayla Bloodgood: You Got What You Came For

Fiction, May/June 2019, Memory

You Got What You Came For 

But then it started to rain. Matthew had hoped to just stand there on the front step, as he always did, while the old man fetched his papers. The man’s wife emerged from the garden, the first drops of rain falling on the little pink and yellow flowers embroidered into her denim shirt. She was too old and too Southern and too polite, she said, to let a young man stand out in the rain. He would just have to come in and have a cup of coffee. He followed her inside.

On Thursday afternoons Matthew walked the sloping pathway leading to Dr. Fallon’s low, angular house. The first time he saw it, he thought it looked as though the house was burying itself into the hill. That day—the day of the rain— his girlfriend had driven him there. She leaned over the steering wheel as she slowed the car, gaping at the big glass box. He scoffed when she asked if Frank Lloyd Wright designed it.

“It’s possible, is all I was trying to say.” She was still bowed over the steering wheel, so bent into it that she and the wheel seemed to be becoming one. 

“Sure, it’s possible,” he said, pulling the lock on the door up and down.

“Don’t patronize me. I was just saying. It’s a strange house.”

“I’m going to be late.” 

Kayla Bloodgood: The Shape of Empty

Fiction, March/April 2019, Place and Displacement

The Shape of Empty 

It is too warm for February. The awful smell of misplaced airs seeps through open windows, is driven along halls by small talk about the weather, and arrives like a threat at my door. I shut the door to my office, blocking this spring out of place. It is cold here in the winter, or at least that is the usual working of things. 

I teach Faulkner in February, so that we all must look out upon a dead sky drained of heat and understand our distance from the hot working sweat of Yoknapatawpha. This came to be years ago, when a football player in my class sighed in the middle of a discussion of As I Lay Dying. We had been talking about Addie’s impossible line: I would hate my father for ever having planted me. A girl with that young smooth easy skin leaned back in her chair and asked why Addie was so sad. That was when he sighed, deliberate and loud, resting his hand big and steady on the cover of his book. I leaned in, asking if he had anything he wanted to say.