Guests Issue no. 229 Summer 2019 The month after our mother died, our father began bringing women home. It felt like a behind-her-back kind of operation. “I’m going to have a guest over tonight,” is what he would say. David and I stayed out in the living room, turned up cartoons, burned toast, kicked our feet up over our heads. I worked long division. At some point a woman would emerge to drink a glass of water or fix her hair in the kitchen window’s dark reflection. The guests left behind nubs of lipstick in gold tubes and leftover food, paper pouches of cold french fries, chicken legs in clamshell Styrofoam boxes. They left tampons blooming through toilet paper in the trash can, like tiny mice they’d killed, the cotton tails pink with blood.