She sat on the toilet seat to wait for the dye to set, and while she did she ran a bath to soak her feet in. She poured in mint bath salts. She thumbed through a magazine. There was a spread about women before and after plastic surgery. She no longer thought plastic surgery was vain; she thought it had to do with the autonomy of a woman’s body. She associated it vaguely with the word empowerment.
This was when I was never sure what I was doing. I had decided that the way for me to be happiest was to not think too hard about anything as long as it felt right. It was a time when I was a heathen and I was happy with how I had justified it.
Once, she positioned herself in her usual armchair next to the window, where her duvet retained its usual cocoon shape. She sat watching the empty street, the fence, the garden plot, the stump, the fossil. She went down the pink porch in her thin cotton socks to see the fossil.
Naomi did not want a man: she wanted a child for herself, a child raised in the city – running around in the dark alleys and playing in the lush courtyards of her own childhood, munching on sweet, warm challah from the baker on the corner and living on the fifth story…
The wet thunk of plummeting metal impacting animal matter. The watermelon-ish explosion emanating from the point of impact. The unspeakable splatter. The ghastly silence before the screams. The seemingly endless instant before reflex, the guilty party, the murderer, intervened too late, forcing his eyes from the spectacle, his body back from the edge.
They hit the dirt and their rinds split, cracked like clay pots, and from the cracks came a thick dark red. Blood flowed out and pooled around the fruit, it kept pooling, it filled the grove like a flood, I grew afraid of it –
“Give me some valley deep in America, something that freezes over in winter and smells of rotten flesh in summer, or a prairie by a lake, in Romania, a naïve little fishermen’s village where you don’t speak the language, and all the fish have died and the fishermen have gone to work in the nearest city…”
We are the walls who have stood for one hundred years and we will stand for one hundred more at the discretion of God, the weather, and those who reside inside of us. We have stood regardless of the scurryings of rodents on our backs and the people who painted our faces anew.