Page 59 - WTP Vol. VIII #3
P. 59

 She looks at Patrick. He is doing better now, using his pick to scrape out some of the meat.
Patrick, Karen says suddenly, you didn’t take a pic- ture.
He pauses, little shreds of crab meat in his pinkened fingers, and laughs.
Here, she says. She looks for napkins but there are none, so instead she takes off her bib and hands it to him to use.
An idea emerges, one all her own, a concept they haven’t tried yet. Deliberate imperfection, no less performative than perfection. She dips her hand
in the sauce and smears a swath across her chest, then up and down her arms. She smudges a little on her cheeks, then holds the second claw in her hand, hooking it over her chili-painted lip playfully, maybe
a little woefully. Her eyes begin to burn.
Hurry, she says, and Patrick does. He wipes his hands on her bib and then pulls out his very expensive camera and fiddles and clicks, adjusting and clicking again. She grins; she laughs; she smirks; she enjoys herself, finally. She looks into the distance and imag- ines that her future is walking toward her, the real one she had envisioned for herself back in college, where she is bold and independent and free. Patrick looks at the screen and smiles. Tomorrow, they will get on a plane for fifteen hours and when they land, Karen will break up with him. But this picture, she knows, will be perfect.
Charles’ work has previously appeared in Bird’s Thumb, Fiction Southeast, and the minnesota review and is forthcoming in Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Vol. 4. She is a graduate of the Arizona State University MFA program and currently lives and writes in Texas.

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