Page 58 - WTP Vol. VIII #3
P. 58

No Signboard Seafood (continued from preceding page) on his plate.
He looks at her with surprise. You’ve eaten crab before? Of course, she says. Well, once.
She’s from the Pacific Northwest, born and bred, and her family liked to go to the beach. But she’s never eaten crab while looking its brethren in the eye-stalk.
He seems embarrassed. Thanks.
Karen cracks open her leg joint and prizes out the meat with the metal pick. It is indeed sweet and succulent, and the sauce is spicy and perfect. It is
also messy. Within seconds her hands are covered in sauce, stinging a crack in one of her knuckles, and she can feel it burning, bleeding out from her lips like a clown’s grin. Karen knows the trip isn’t Patrick’s fault, exactly. She doesn’t even really like the photos on that Instagram account: they are over-produced and tech-
nicolor, often culturally insensitive, verging on exploi- tation. She suspects many unassuming tourists and imperfections have been Photoshopped out and the dolphins Photoshopped in. There’s no question that one or both of them ended up with traveler’s diar- rhea in a remote forest or got sand stuck somewhere unfortunate. The photos are fantasies, like her face turned away from the camera, like Patrick’s vision of travel, like herself as his muse.
But there was a time she expected more from herself, wasn’t there? The halcyon days of college, writing impassioned papers about female agency in The Canterbury Tales, playing Nora in A Doll’s House (ok, it was just the monologue for an acting class, but still), discussing heteronormativity in sociology class, imag- ining herself onto a stage or into a career where people might admire her for her photogenic face, yes, but also her wit, her verve, her daring. What happened be- tween then and now? Where did she lose the thread?
oil on canvas 72'' x 108'' By Amir R. Hariri

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