Tom stepped out of the bar into a pool of yellow-ochre light from the streetlamp. Yellow-ochre is the color of this country, he thought, and terracotta. His brain, bathed in a loose veil of red wine and whatever the Italian football players made him drink, seemed to drift along behind him like an awkward, dumb animal. “Catch up,” he said out loud. “Put your hand in your pocket and find your keys,” he said, to the cracked sidewalk, to the slice of sinking moon, to anything listening. “Why is everybody so goddamn nice around here?”Elizabeth had been gone for 37 days. Which is to say that his older sister had been dead for 37 days, although Tom was still unused to this idea, and still preferred to think of her as simply away. She was missing until further notice, and he needed only to locate her. She had gone to a paper-making workshop in India, to a yoga retreat in Western Massachusetts, to a vegan commune in New Mexico. She would return. Eventually. She would be renewed.
This is a story I've worked on in fits here and there throughout the years, as you can see in this post from a year ago and this post from 2006, where I didn't get it quite the way I wanted. It's finished now, though. I hope you enjoy it.