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Hey, Lyosha

There are prison tattoos on the backs of his hands. Faded, blotchy shapes and a finger that jabs at a phone. "Hey, Lyosha!" He shouts, as every face on the bus swings to him. There is no answer, no voice on the other side. "Lyosha." He says again, then stares angrily out the windows. I step on someone's foot by accident, apologizing quickly. The young man waves his hand as if to say I did not need to say anything. The man with the tattoos sips from a giant cup of soda from KFC that is balanced on the empty seat next to him.

We pass a hotel we used to live next to, where expensive escorts are ferried in and out like yachts in a harbor. There is a fresh line of flags snapping in a low wind, and an American one is curiously absent. Plenty of the businessmen behind those windows are from the states.

The man brandishes the phone and hands it to the young man in front of me. I did not see that one coming. The young man wipes invisible dust from it, a reserved frown …

on refrigerators


V's feet are slapping against the floor. I hear her before she bursts into the kitchen, a leaf of paper hanging from her hand.
"Papa. Papa. Look. Look." She howls.
The paint is still wet. It is a flurry of brown and blue, some red. My eyes jump wide. I clap my hands.
"Put it on the fridge!" I announce, and she does.
A smile, an expression of complete satisfaction presents itself. She runs out of the room, to do it all again.

This is what all of us want, I tell myself. To be appreciated. To have our work grace a wall. It seems so simple, but in an adult life - how often does this happen? How rare is this?

Then, I remember Jan Groover telling us to tape our latest photographs to the door of the refrigerator. "If you still like it after a week, then you have something." She added, a long thin cigarette dangling from her lip.



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