book of days serial #4

In midsummer his sisters arrived in town for a brief but intense stay. They spent five (5) days with him and left early on the morning of his birthday. On the eve of their departure a certain buzzing was audible between the three of them. It was a trepidation they felt in leaving him alone, and the numbness he felt growing back into his eyes. They dressed that night amongst each other their wet hair and the warmth of their showers and fresh faces slowed the pulse of the air as they dined close in the dark. The wetness of showers did not depart the senses as the three (3) of them had not left each others supple sight for fear that one on one of them might be combustible after so much proximity and sharing and keeping one another in check, they dined. For them, after the fashion of their lives, dining after sequential showers made the flush on their faces like settling into warm sheets that are fresh from a wash and spin, bare and feeling prickled hair on lower back and sheets and skin dissolve. It gave them places to hide dining in low light. The glimmers of what purple and red light there was set the marine texture of their three (3) cropped coiffures aglisten and their somber dress attire made the airbrushed junks and barges twinkle as if the farewell meal was held in Hong Kong harbour amidst the wavering skyscraper antennae, sparking of the churning wake of wind drawn wood, or the projecting dock plateau adrift in a north Thai rice paddy in near-dusk post-sunset storm purple on blood red water. It was anywhere but Fairfax, and any night except the last one.

The warmth of meal in wet stomach, curry warm on tongue sticky rice alump in the belly, the paste of saturated boiled potatoes powdering the lining, above clean underpants and against a sweater hugged tight as the cold apartment light and the pleasurable dull tingle of knowing that beyond the hollow door the two fastidious houseguests were preparing for him futilely a party. He knew and pushed aside the notion that this was also a farewell. This gesture settled the visit and the knowledge that this trinity of only warmth, this nestled cleanliness of emotion and wet hair was sentenced to be outlasted by the mylar confetti that stuck statically at carpet nailers and behind door swings for the coming weeks.

The following afternoon he found himself weeping on the phone at the operator as he shook crosslegged on the floor surrounded by balloons and icepacks. His sisters had left early that morning in a rush. Both because they had fallen asleep at dawn and because they could not let the last picture of him sitting in his car at LAX be one of protracted isolation. He rose gradually through the hall and pushed his bedroom door open. The mirror he avoided for the past year lay directly to his left and he stepped away from it toward the opposite wall. There was a perspectival quadrilateral of wavering light before him. The mirror. Not the representation of him to himself, but the reflection of the city beyond impressed on his space. Again the late afternoon of barbecue summer swept like orange dust through the blinds.

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