Kelly’s place at the table is large and well defined—the children know where it begins and where it ends, as does Marian, as do their guests. There are smooth, reflective patches in the wood at each place his large forearms rest that Oliver likes to feel with his hand when Daddy isn’t home—likes to put his eye to and see his own eye looking back. His place takes up some three-fifths of the table, which Kelly himself built, and from his place at the head he reaches to take his children’s hands at prayer time, looks down toward his wife in the kitchen when the meal is over. It’s large also because there’s an aura about it that is intimidating to some, an impression that here is someone’s home—here is the centre of some majestic force that oversees the world within the enclosing walls: beware.
Here at breakfast however the world is empty—Kelly has taken the children, Oliver and Katy, to pick his parent’s up from the airport, stopping by a take-out place for a treat. Marian tries to savour her time alone—sitting in the shade outside, orange pekoe and hard candy, calculating house expenses, reading her books and the morning paper, seeing what Dustbin (Dustin) would dig up in the backyard, or lay small and dead at her feet. This morning Marian worries—she walks to the top of their street’s hill with Dustin in tow and watches overhead a plane, a tongue of flame in the early morning sun send back first in straight, pure ribbons, then in warping, lengthening artist’s impasto, artefacts of their technology; to say that they were real and had in fact been there minutes ago. Dustin, with the energy of a racehorse tears at an old shoe he found beneath some tree or by the storm-drain, clobbers his own face with it as he throws it this way and that, trying to destroy it.
She goes to the market and picks up flowers from the florist, not the supermarket where she has been before and was disappointed with the rough and unaesthetic arrangements. She buys fish, potatoes, cream, chives and fresh broccoli, as well as a record she thinks Kelly’s parents might enjoy as they sit around later that night and sip on Kelly’s rare liquors. It is something that simply caught her eye and reminded her of Kelly’s father somehow; the demeanor of the artist on the front cover, the breezy green grass. She buys a camera from a second-hand store too, and some film, because at home she will photograph the whole family and put them in her books.