The eggs are dry in the frying pan that was used the night before to fry rice that turned out equally dry. A sizzle and a hiss for each moment that the eggs came closer to being finished. The harsh sun streams through windows unforgiving. She sits on an un-matching chair at the kitchen table with the gessoed wooden board in front of her, the pleading eyes of the lonely woman looking up at her. She wanted to tell the woman to stop looking at her, to put some clothes on. No one can help you when you’re naked. No one wants to help you with such helpless looking features. He places the eggs in front of her on a flowered plastic plate. She sips her cranberry juice cocktail and picks up the fork. He marvels at her willingness to trust him with her safety. She thinks to herself that she trusts him more than anyone. But scrambled egg forces the words from her lips back down her throat.

Sounds from the night before flash through her head in snippets so quick and fleeting that she is surprised that this room was ever filled to begin with. But last night, the walls seemed to be breathing. There was a pulse and a constant movement through arteries and veins. She could actually see them last night. How old they all felt, sipping their grown-up drinks and cooking real grown-up foods together. But in the light of midmorning responsibility and rationality, they all looked more like children playing dress up in their parents clothes.

He picks up his pencils and starts back on the woman. He pays particular attention to the folds of the cloth that covers her body. She herself is complete; her eyes speak this sadness that no human hand can cure. Like Water for Chocolate. She is surrounded by candles but she cannot keep the fire going within her. He works with what is not there, blending smudges from his finger and drawing with his eraser. She wonders how someone can create from nothing. It seems magical. But then, here they were.

Her eyes were smothered with glitter, paint, and tangled Christmas lights from nights that could have been. She couldn’t see, even in the daytime. Nobody understood what clouded her vision, but it stayed like that for a very long time.


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