There are some amazing short stories in What If? but I think this super short story just might be my favorite. I couldn’t help but share.
“Running with Joshua Trees” by Molly Lanzarotta
I scream each time I see that the house is surrounded, and I know this makes Carmen’s patience wavery, like the heat mirages. Carmen has always lived in the desert and tells me that it is the normal way for Joshua trees to behave. But how am I to get used to them, all standing there with their arms raised, each time I pass the window and forget not to look out. The Joshua trees are moving closer every day, and to me this is ominous, Carmen or no Carmen.
This house, this desert, are supposed to be for my health. The doctor in Boston told my son so. Warm climate, a companion, and the old lady will be all set. Well, the doctor didn’t know about the ways of the desert. I watch as the Joshua trees group and regroup like as stunted army, never quite making up their minds that they are going to advance. Bradford gets upset on the phone if I talk about the Joshua trees, how they are preparing for some sort of final march. Carmen can see it in the moon, although I don’t tell Bradford this, lest he think Carmen a bad influence.