There is a house out along the dusty farm road that does not conform. Through the massive gray door and to the left is a parlor where the ladies sit in their floral print summer dresses, sipping tepid cups of tea through downturned lips. In the hall, the children tear by, swinging their skinny arms around the post to turn up the stairs. They go round and round, down the back stair and through the kitchen in an endless race, their gasping faces frozen in the sheer delightful terror of the chase. The yard behind the house is a lumpy field of clay bearing only the hardiest weeds. A middle-aged man is stuck in the ground there, buried up to his waist. Each morning, his boy brings him a bowl of water, a razor, and an orange. He shaves, pours out the water, eats the orange, and places the scraps of peel in the bowl. Sometimes a robin perches on his shoulder or tries to build a nest in his hair. Beyond the yard is a pond into which extends an ancient wooden dock. The master of the house, smoking calmly in his striped swimsuit, paces the dock in the evening. Once an hour, he lowers himself into the water and kicks furiously, all the while clinging to the splintered pier. He hauls himself out after a while and resumes his pacing. A beautiful girl lives in the attic of the house, or so they say. She brushes her long blond hair from morning to night, stopping just once to scribble a note, fold it into a plane, and toss it out the window. Usually it simply falls to the ground, but sometimes, it will catch a gust of wind and glide out over the yard, coasting between the thorny branches of the locust trees at the ponds edge before landing with a soft plit in the brackish water. If the master could swim, he might push away from the dock and carry himself with broad strokes out to that floating plane. He would bring it back to the dock, shake himself dry, and read the note: Come back to me.
every time i read this i want to flutter into deep virginal sleep.