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Candles

Image“It’s always just that little bit more,” she said, “that doesn’t get you what you’re looking for.”

I look up at her.

“Is that the game we’re playing?”

She smiled her frightening smile: “Sometimes life gives you lemons.”

I can’t smile. A profoundly disturbing thought runs through my mind and I stare at her calmly, preventing her from seeing into my head. “It’s always just that little bit more.”

“Come on,” she said.

“‘Come on,’ what?”

She is still smiling. “You know very well what.”

“Impenetrable?”

“Impenetrable.”

“I tried to do all that I can,” I said.

“Good. Very good.” She dares me to make the next move. “I tried to lend a helping hand.”

Still smiling.

The dinner is almost ready and the house is hot – it’s the beginning of a long, hot summer – and filled with the smells of spices: fresh basil, oregano, garlic, and just a hint of cinnamon. I sweat sitting down and she glows under her crêpe-paper-thin dress. As always, no brassiere. It’s late in the day; the sun is shining through the west-facing windows and the air is thick. Yes, like molasses.

“Come on, it’s dinner time.”

“I’ll be right there,” I said.

“What are you writing?”

“Nothing.”

She looks over my shoulder. “You’re switching tenses inexplicably again.”

I look down at what I’ve written. “It seems you are right.”

“Fix it,” she said.

And I refuse.

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