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my face feel hot and sticky every time I breathe. White. Such a pure color. Why did I choose to wear this sweater? “Yes, I know. I know.” 4:09 am. Why was he awake? “Isaac, it’s late. Why aren’t you asleep?” My bedroom window was open, and freezing wind rushed into the room. I had purposely opened it about thirty minutes before. The cold prevented me from falling asleep on the phone with him. “I don’t need sleep, Mar. Come on, let’s go see a movie. You still have the key to the snack counter, right?” “The movie theater is closed. You do know that, don’t you?” It was the second week he had called me in the early hours of the morning, sounding as if he could run a hundred marathons and still not be tired at all. A pause. “Yes, I know. I know.” “So,” I said, cocking my hip to the side, “you’ve come to this theater, to this concession stand, every single day for the past week and you still haven’t even told me your name.” The crooked smile again. “Isaac Prestlin.” “Well, Isaac Prestlin, will it be your usual candy choices?” I smiled back. The back of the car had given me a bruise on my thigh, large and violet, but I refused to look at it the whole night and the days after. In fact, I still refuse to look at anything that reminds me of that night. I have made my eyes blind to cop cars, to thick brown ropes, even to the moon. There had been an unforgiving crescent in the sky when the police finally pulled up next to his house. It was looming over everything like an ominous presence, though there had barely been any light coming from it at all. “This is your fourth session, Marie, and I’m afraid that you still think that your friend’s suicide is your fault.” Friend. The word leaves an acrid taste in my mouth. But I guess he’s right. To all of his friends, to all of his family, to this stupid grief counselor that I didn’t even ask to see, we were friends. And yet, “It is my fault, though. You see: he didn’t call.” “Did anyone call on the phones in the offices?” I asked my boss at the movie theater. “My phone died.” “No,” she said. “Were you expecting someone to? And by the way, can you put those packs of candy back in the bins? I don’t know why they’re out.” “Sure thing,” I painted a grin across my mouth and slowly set each bag of Mike & Ikes and Twizzlers back. All twenty-two of them.

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HALIKIAS

Profile for Oakland Arts Review

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4  

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4  

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