October 24, 2020

The Visitor

posted on: Thursday October 29, 2015

by Ariana Pasquantonio ’16

Portfolio Staff

Three taps.  The smoke seeped in through the cracks by the door that she’d forgotten to fill, swirled around her feet and pulled her down. She sank to it. Night haze, the time for remembering—a match, propane, the jealous spark that kindled between cupped hands.  She watched her own steady gait away from that fenced house at the end of the street until she saw the geraniums were red and ablaze, but by then, he was already gone, rising.  He curled into the golden night.

But now, she let him in, before the smoke pushed them apart.

Please, stay. I haven’t seen you in a while. She reached towards him but her words fell through—jumped, one by one, like into a well, down, down, clattering at the bottom.

He only stared. She had not forgotten the bitterness that he brought, a scent like juniper leaves and dirt.  She would drink it, if she could. Steam rose from his cup, curling through his fingers, snaking up his arm, around his neck, growing thicker, denser. She tried to memorize the hook in the bridge of his nose and his freckles splashed all over, but the steam covered his face and washed him clean.

Would you have a sip? Her smile broke the sky, the steam vanished and she was alone.

The coffee went cold.

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