167

Piroshky

Wayne Wolfson By

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A brace of shadows upon the wall, the towel rack
I did not turn the light on as to not wake her up. I go into the bathroom to wash up. A brace of shadows upon the wall, the towel rack's bare skeleton, an enforced stillness.

There were tiny flecks of eggshell on the top of my shoes. Again, I had gone out crayfish hunting with the old man. While we waited for the traps to fill, we would sit around and eat hardboiled eggs and oranges.

Depending on the time of season, different hours were better for catching them. Really, as long as it was not done at dusk, when everything grew shadows which made them more cautious, it did not matter too much despite what he may have thought. We filled the two wicker baskets, their leather straps rotted away and replaced by twine which would also need replacing several months down the line. I walked him home, carrying all the gear so that he could wildly gesture with his cigar to emphasize a point.

He and his wife lived in a sort of romantic desolation. Everyone they had known from the struggle was now either dead or had adopted a different set of values to live by.

I should be going, but there were the rituals which they always insisted upon. The tiny cups on the silver tray. By the time he was done with his poetic toast, she had expertly removed a pile of meat from the little tails, mixing them with parsley and butter before enclosing them in the dough she had made that morning. I got halfway through losing a game of chess and the first batch was done. As always, delicious with a heaviness that snuck up on you. It was finally time for me to go. I was a little vague as to when we would do this again, but I was trying to contribute to his immortality in my holding back any definite time lines. I shut the door behind me. I still felt full and decided to walk around a little to work it off. I passed several bars, the scent of his cigar adequately covered the breath of a day spent on the water. I could stop for a drink.

I thought of Cecilia, left at home. Would we ever have what they did? Did one consciously think of such ambitions? I contemplated myself late in life with an existence such as that, such as theirs, but then my mind would wander, it was all bawdy trumpets as I sang out, I want to be bad. What they had, really though, times have changed and the people with it.

The empty glass in front of me now held no interest. I looked at my watch, it was far later than I had intended.

I come out of the bathroom. She is now awake, sitting up in bed. In the dark, I can not read her face and do not know what to expect. Surprisingly, there is no raised voice demanding an account on my part. She gets up and throws on a sundress, red flowers whose white spaces in-between glow a ghostly pale hue. She wants to go for a walk. I steer us towards the docks with their little strip of beach, which will have an unobstructed view. It is late, so most of the fishing boats are still out.

We lay on our backs, the cool sand wetting my shirt. I couldn't be bothered to move. The wet sand, it was everything that ever was, past and present. To not move, to sink further down, a final truth.

I couldn't be bothered to move.

She murmured something. Arms outstretched, head thrown back, she cut her palm on the tip of a crescent moon. My Russian death, I aspire to kisses but instead always end up making orphans of every night.

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