Issue > Fiction
Sara Henry

Sara Henry

Sara Henry's fiction has appeared in The Adroit Journal, Hobart, BOOTH and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Above and Below


Ro comes to know her father above a mountain in Colorado. They are being carried up the slope in a chairlift, their blue and yellow skis crossing beneath them. She's ten years old. Behind them, her older brother rides alone. The air is cold and tender. Up here, she feels that she can ask her father whether he loves her mother.

"What?"

"Do you love mom?"

He brings his hand to his mouth. His face pinches and crumples in a way that mesmerizes Ro. His big, solid body folds at the edges. This is his answer. She gazes at the landscape they are passing over—rocks and bits of grass peeking through white. The chair creaks gently.

At the base of the mountain, the lodges are burning firewood. Children are running in wool socks. Her mother is drinking vodka in a hotel room. Something near her may break. Being in snow-covered places makes Ro's mother angry, and being alone makes her afraid. Last night, she shattered her wineglass in the sink and cried that no one cared about her. She grabbed Ro by the wrist and dragged her close to her heart, howling. It was like she was trying to hold her and hurt her at the same time.

As Ro remembers this, two hands grasp either side of her helmet. They turn her towards her father.

"I love you, Rosemary. I love this family." His face is wet. He strokes her goggles with his thumb. "Do you hear me?"

Ro nods.

"Good." He exhales, his shoulders receding to their resting place.

They're almost to the top of the mountain. Ro takes it all in, tingling with the newness of her father's voice. The honesty in it. She memorizes the sound, to play back in her head when they glide down the slope. When they unstrap their boots and trudge to the hotel. When they fly back to Connecticut, to their empty rooms.

This comforts Ro, until she remembers where her brother is. He's riding by himself in one of the lifts behind them. She turns around and looks for him, but can't see him in the line of chairs. Ro is sorry that she has taken this piece of their father for herself. She keeps looking. If she can find him, maybe he will know that something happened. When he sees her face, maybe he'll know that their father's jagged voice split her open.

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