|Grandma Ida Mae and Grandfather Charles Haddad|
Iris and Ape, Ape and Iris. They'd been arguing all morning. You're killing my soul, Ape said, even as he methodically folded the empty cardboard box that the computer had come in. He tried to lift it by himself, crouched bare-chested, stood up with a grunt, sweat beading on his forehead, glasses slipping down his nose, and walked away toward his office. The room, despite its size, was unbearably hot. There'd been no rain for months, the sun hung in the sky every damn day, a pale, inexorable disc. Iris needed air. She pushed on the window at the back that they never opened. They lived in a rough neighborhood. She had large hands, strong hands, that kneaded dough, were nimble. She'd scored high on a career test back in high school for finger dexterity. The window was stuck, either painted shut or swollen from water and shrunken from sun too many times. She banged on the wood a few times, used the base of her palms to shove upward, felt it give and then the whole thing came down, the glass punched out, shards of it slicing into her palm, the joint of her middle finger dark with blood. Later, a thin white scar marked the crease of that finger and the inside fold of her wrist, but that day she stood with her palms upward, surprised at the blood, the glint of the glass, her brute strength.