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small change (exceptions)

There are two buildings that rise up in the distance, when I go towards the hardware store. I imagine a modern-day Rapunzel might live in one of them. The sky is packed with clouds, but a strange one hovers above one of the towers, a lonely mushroom, a cloud fedora, a sore thumb.

There is a store here, Pyaterochka. The name brings to mind a little bird, maybe a sparrow. I used to go to a Pyaterochka that had little birds that flew around inside it, but it actually means "5", taken from the Russian word "pyat". In "little five" people wander the aisles, counting out rubles, with bags of potatoes, maybe a box of wine. I find myself scouring the neighborhood from time to time, looking for a special type of milk for V. It comes in tiny purple boxes, and appears as randomly and sparingly as butterflies. Today, I am in Pyaterochka and there are a few boxes. I check the expiration dates on them. Stores here will sell expired milk and meat without batting an eye…

the prisoner


I watch her sleeping, as I have on thousands of nights like this. Her hands are loose, lost in some raphaelite pose. A whistle pulls from her nostrils. A window is open, flipping the curtains and the covers are pulled tight around her. At least she has this peace, I tell myself wandering into the kitchen for a nightcap.

Her days are consumed by pens and pencils, drawings of girls having slumber parties on polka dot sheets, of her imaginary version of Central Park where hotdogs are free, of a house in the countryside. We play card games at the kitchen table, shoving the empty plates to one side after lunch. We take walks to buy some fresh trout, or blueberries in the afternoon.

I ask her how it feels to be forced to remain in the city while all of her friends are on the ocean, or in the country with grandparents.
"It is ok." She tells me, her voice small and breaking.
"So you don't feel like a prisoner?" I ask.
She rests her hand on my shoulder.
"No, because I am with you." She explains.
I squeeze her next to me.
"But yes, it makes me sad." She adds, after a moment.




Comments

liv said…
there is simply no way to express the feelings after reading that - no words - no words
Rachael said…
This is beautiful. Utterly freaking beautiful.

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