by Jessica


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Here is a picture of Ellen and me having a conversation:

We are sitting in a room that glows. Ellen does that to rooms. She draws all the light into her body and sends it radiating back out again through her skin and eyes, and through her voice, which is jewel bright, as rich and opulent as her conversation, which is what I like about Ellen. The door opens.

A man enters. It does not matter who he is. Let him be tall or short or young or old. Let him have a big nose or a little nose: hairs on the backs of his hands, or no hairs. He is standing behind Ellen. She cannot see him. But she senses his presence.

Suddenly, the feeling in the room changes. What was there is gone, sucked out the same door through which the man entered. Our conversation vanishes like a popped bubble. I blink, startled, at the empty space where it hovered. My mouth hangs open to answer the question Ellen asked me, but she has forgotten she asked. She looks at me, smiles. I have a strong feeling she can no longer see me. She begins to laugh: white teeth, sweet voice, like milk and honey. No one said anything humorous. Ellen turns a little, gives the man a glance that is a question, laughs and laughs.

I believe that if I ever walked too near the edge of a cliff, slipped and fell and hung dangling over the ocean by one hand, Ellen would be the first person to dart onto the crumbling rock to try to save me. But if, suddenly, a man passed by –let him be a surfer, say, or a lifeguard, or a tax attorney- Ellen would start to smile, milk and honey. She would turn to glance at the man. Without malice, without forethought, her fingers would slide from mine, and she would forget me entirely as I crashed to death on the rocks. Other than that, we could have been best friends.


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Hey look, I learned how to make a poll!

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