47.2 - Spring 2018

Page 26

Even after Joseph told her the story of the evening, there were blanks. She didn’t remember him taking her home on the night bus, didn’t remember him holding open a carrier bag from the PennyMarkt for her to vomit into, didn’t remember him helping her to ease off her tight jeans. “You took out your own contact lenses, though,” Joseph assured her, “and wrapped your own hair. Then you ordered me to get in the bed with you.” He laughed a little when he saw her look of horror at this prospect, but not unkindly. “I didn’t take you up on the offer. I slept on the rug. It seems to me that you must have a lot of trust in yourself.” “Are you trying to be funny?” His mouth was straight, but his eyes smiled. Yes, he was teasing her. “I only mean to say, I would never allow my body to walk around without me. Who knows what bad decisions it might make?” * Agun seems better nourished the third time. He is entirely naked now—no shorts, even—so she can see clearly that he has put on weight. His stomach doesn’t protrude as much and his skin has regained some of its luster. Carefully, she looks away from his genitals, those prepubescent versions of ones she knows well. She can’t help noticing that his left eye is swollen, puffed to a slit. “What happened to you?” she asks the little boy. “Did someone hit you?” Time is moving forward, in the world he has come from. What is going on for him there? At the moment, they are together at the park by the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal, the monument built over the mass grave of five thousand 18

PHOEBE


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