Lauren Spohrer

Mrs. Krups

We liked Mrs. Krups a lot. She and Mr. Krups had two boys about the ages of Pete and William, and because I didn’t want my boys outside tripping and bleeding and hurting animals, especially with Pete's needing glasses, the Krups boys usually came to our house to play indoors. Mrs. Krups came too.

We lived in the woods, my husband and my boys.

My boys were Pete and William.

William said, “What a good big brother I am!”

Maybe the Krups family took some amount of pride in being in the woods. My husband, with his long oiled hair, he said he’d taken our family out of “littleness” and brought us to a place where “our problems are solved by walking.”

My husband said, "When did the standards of success change?"

He said, "The standards can change. They changed when we stopped respecting long hair on a man."

My husband had very long hair, as I said, and it was oiled, of course.

"The bear eats the moth," my husband said.

My mother used to say, "In marriage, you never stand in the same river twice."

Mrs. Krups had a cleaning lady to help her prepare for the picnics. Mrs. Krups had a natural sort of prettiness and once told me that her husband cried when both of his sons were born. I rarely saw Mr. Krups, just the four times a year at the picnics. When I did see him, he sagged under the tonnage of my expectations, except that he looked like someone with rich parents.

It was getting into winter and I was setting squash and eggplant and cheese aside for the fall-winter picnic with the Krups Family. We were peeling when the Krups boys came running in through the kitchen door.

“Hello, boys,” I said.

“My dad is gone,” one of them said.

“Where is your mother?” I asked.

“She is coming.”

“He’s gone,” Mrs. Krups said.

“Gone where?” I asked.

“It’s been eight days,” she said, “he didn’t even take clothes.”

“Have you called his friends?”

“No one knows.”

“The police?” I asked.

“I called them yesterday.”

“Let’s go inside and have some coffee,” I said.

“What about the bank accounts?” my husband asked.

“I don’t know,” she said.

“Please do stay with us,” I said.

“Absolutely,” my husband said.

“I’m pretty shaky,” she said.

Mrs. Krups was becoming mentally ill.

Naturally I did not know how it happened until it was well over, and I don’t even know why I tell it, except that sometimes women are expected to tell what happened so everyone can have it said.

Lauren Spohrer has recently published fiction in The Mississippi Review and Failbetter.

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