I love these things, the details of him: how my husband’s beard presses to a point against his pillow, my husband whose seeming ethnicity seems to shift wherever we travel. He is German-Italian, but manages to look Hispanic, Turkish, Moorish, any number of things. His skin has changed over the years we’ve been together, a beautiful smooth leather, creasing slowly where he smiles, where he frowns.
You know the expressions you habitually make carve tiny marks against your skull? That’s how they do those facial reconstructions, they can tell your favorite expressions from marks in the bone.
I imagine the marks like worm tracks under the skin…
Five years ago, when we were in Ukraine everyone thought I was from there. Odessa. They’d speak to me quickly, conspiratorially; I couldn’t respond, and then they saw my flash of American teeth.
Once a man came out of a crowd and poked at my stomach, yelling at me. The same sentence over and over again. He was angry he couldn’t make me understand. Some transgression I’d made- or maybe he thought I was someone else- I wonder about it still.
Five years ago.
Interesting the theory of Eternalism, that all moments in time- all those days, each one a burrow, a tiny worm’s track- are equally real. Each one, future and past.
We are alive so briefly, think of it, sure, all our days might as well be simultaneous.
I close my eyes to remember, really remember that day in the market. I can almost go back.
Then I open them. 6 am. Coffee and pages before another long, vanishing day at the warehouse.
The bright colors of the market gone five years, that man is perhaps dead, Maria & Yevgeny are divorced and the pomegranates are all eaten.
P.Z. West's first novel, EVENING’S LAND, is a Library Journal Self-e Selection, winner of the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Award and recipient of the Carol Marie Smith Memorial Scholarship for the NOEPE Center of Literary Arts.
Pauline West's books on Goodreads
Candlemoth: A Holy City Romance
ratings: 27 (avg rating 4.04)
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Candlemoth Volume 2: How To Spend It
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.40)
Candlemoth Book 3: A Twist of Fate
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Stalker: A Gothic Thriller
ratings: 4 (avg rating 4.25)