Volume 9 • Number 2 • Fall-Winter 2018-2019

Janet Olearski

The Empty Suit

She supposed that, while she was sleeping, her mother must have entered her room, because when she got up, she found that a man's suit had been laid out on the top of the bookcase next to the window. She had the sense that her mother might possibly have taken something from the wardrobe, but it couldn't have been the suit. The suit, she didn't recognize. On reflection, she realized that it was more like a child's suit than a man's, the kind of outfit that a ventriloquist's dummy might wear, with a little white collar, a tie, a flower in the lapel and a handkerchief in its top pocket. The suit was like a small body lying there, though there was no person or no body inside it. It was as though it had just come from the cleaner's. Maybe her mother had thought to put it in the wardrobe, but had then decided it would be better to lay it down, to spread it out.

After she had thought of all these things and had remained puzzled, she got back into bed. She was fully dressed and had gone to bed because she had been overcome by weariness and cold. Under the covers, she curled into a warm ball and fell asleep again.

Later, when she awoke and the room was as it had been when she first entered, she wondered why her mother, dead all these years, would have brought her that empty little suit.

Janet Olearski is a London-born author, based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.