Lies, poetry and the art of seeing
She crossed the packed lobby at a diagonal and set the cups on the dirty little coffee table between the armchairs under the bay window. She checked the first paper bag, gave him the other.
“Answer me”, she hissed. “Are you and Susan still married, yes or no?”
He tucked the coffee cup between his knees, picked a seed from his bagel.
“Did you get sugar?” he asked.
Around them, clusters of volunteers were claiming every power outlet that could be had, aggregating their whispers into a rumbling hum. She raised an untrimmed eyebrow and stared.
“Linda,” he sighed. “To be honest, I have no idea how we did get from there to here.”
Behind his back, the golden cupola of the capitol was trying to shine against a grey February sky. He dragged the bad weather with him, always. She bit into her muffin, a bad choice; now she’d never lose the weight.
“Do you remember our poem?” she asked.
“Of course: Forecast by Sandi Stromberg. Great poem.”
“Just last week it was on the radio. Read by some kid with a Middle Eastern accent. In freaking Lander, Wyoming! Can you believe this?”
He nodded. A volunteer in a plaid shirt stood up to read from a list. A line was forming near the women’s bathroom. They were running out of time.
“You know what I thought?” she asked, more to herself than to him. “Here we are: four years to the day, same poem, same man, same wife. Nothing’s changed.”
He leaned forward on his elbows.
“Sweetheart,” he started.
He squeezed her knee.
If only she could be one of these women she read about in magazines, those who lost hundreds of pounds and left rotten relationships to get their PhD in physics.
She, Linda, twice divorced and with a married election-year lover was a sad pushover, was what she was.
An intern brought the daily report. She thanked her and stood to stretch by the window. On the capitol lawn, parallel lines of people were inching up and down the steps: students, volunteers in red, white and blue, reporters bundled in parkas, the usual circus.
“I got you something,” Bob whispered.
He pulled a velvet box from his pocket. She managed a smile.
“It’s a ‘lover’s eye’, from the Georgian era. When two people couldn’t be together they’d exchange miniature paintings of their left eyes. Whoever’s eye this was, it looks just like mine don’t you think?”
He pinned the brooch above her heart.
It was magnificent, as usual.
She turned back to the window. On the lawn, near the statue of Neptune, a woman in gloves, shoulders bare, was slicing through the lines of people, a pack of men in pursuit. Her heels sank into the dead grass, her white dress beat angrily at her ankles.
“Look,” she tugged at his sleeve. “Over there: is that a bride running away?”
But he didn’t hear her and couldn’t see.
The Lover’s Eye is a digital collaboration for the 2016 winter workshop of Women in Visual and Literary Arts: Taming the Digital Beast.
PM Neist — The Lover’s Eye — Flash Fiction
Margo Stutts Toombs — How did we get from there to here? — Video Prequel
Sandi Stromberg — Forecast — Poetry
Marion Glober — Brooch — Antique Jewelry
Isabel Longoria — Is That a Bride Running Away? — Photography
To learn more about WIVLA visit www.wivla.org
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