47.2 - Spring 2018

Page 145

we were friends and everyone asked if we were related, but this says more about where we lived than about us. We don’t actually look alike except in the broad strokes of a racial category—flat nosed, dark eyes and hair, skin that takes well to sunlight. We sat crosslegged on the floor, fingers on the planchette. “How many heart attacks did my grandfather have?” I asked the board. The pointer moved. Our other temporary housemate, Kirsten, watched from the sides, preaching damnation. She was all Veggie Tales and weekly choir practice and prone to what I believed were hysterics. Never far from her inhaler, she complained of asthma and allergies at what seemed like only the most convenient times. Li looked down at our fingers. “How many heart attacks did he have?” she asked. “Five,” I said. “Holy shit.” She flung the board across the room. The planchette had landed on five. We went to bed shaking. The next morning, our host mother asked how we had slept. She seemed surprised when we said everything was fine, given that Li and I were on the floor. “You didn’t feel it?” she asked. “The earthquake?” “No,” we said. Kirsten looked triumphant. She knew our attempts at communicating with the dead might be somehow responsible for the earth’s shudders, but she kept quiet about it. ***



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