by Jared Oliver Adams
Julia’s dad knew magic.
She found out a few weeks after her mom died. She was six and huddled in her mother’s closet, nestling amongst the hanging dresses that still smelled like Mom’s perfume. Dad came in and sat down in the doorway of the little closet, but Julia didn’t look at him. She was crying and didn’t want him to see.
“I think,” he said, “that sometimes words are too small and ordinary to say how you feel. That’s why we have music.” And with her face pressed into Mom’s favorite dress, a deep purple one that trailed to the carpeted floor, a guitar began a soft, mournful melody. The music was light, like when Mom used to flutter her eyelashes against Julia’s cheeks, but it was powerful at the same time, because when Julia remembered butterfly kisses, her tummy got this feeling like she would cry forever and ever. The music flowed into the closet, and Julia thought for a moment that maybe the dress she was clutching wasn’t actually empty at all, but her mother was inside it and hugging her back. She nuzzled it and sniffled and looked up at her father.