We meet early in the morning. I roll in on my bike with breakfast for Danny. He looks sleepy but greets me with a warm smile, and I know we are both exhausted but excited. We unroll some canvases, tape them onto the Ikea painting frames belonging to the café, and hang them up.
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…”
I don’t know if you remember that first night you closed my chest and opened yours, but it was wet and dark.
On the first day of our last week at Camp Lookout, when the summer was coming to an end, and the nights were colder, and every time we sang “Way Up in Northern Michigan” we felt like crying, the counselors decided to do a joint survival expedition.
I’m a bad person and Mr. Bondad is such a good person. I hope he forgives me. Mr. Bondad opens the door and I freeze. I stare at his dark birthmark. He smiles at me and says come on in.