One Reply to “2.22.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. They were unkind. Always they were. Their words bitter like lemons and sharp, too, sharp as hat pins or knives. Anya especially. She cut people into small pieces and she did not care that she hurt them with what she said. And she always seemed to know just what was a person’s particular weakness.

    It had not always been so. Once they were beautiful. There are pictures to prove it. Not pretty as girls can be, but beautiful. With an elegance and a style that was more than shop-bought. And young men paid them compliments and offered to light their cigarettes and bought them flowers in that way that young men so often are. And they might have taken lovers, but they didn’t. They had each other.

    That is not the whole truth. Anya took a lover once. A boy with long hair and lips like a girl’s, full and pink. And he had hands like a girl’s, too, fingers long and tapered and the palms clean and the nails shaped and polished. He might have been a musician, for they take care of their hands. But he was just a clerk in a suit that was more expensive than he could afford. And Anya took him to her bed, thinking he was something other than he was. Afterwards, she never took another.

    Larisa and Anya, and they had a table at the Café Tantsy and for years the barman there knew what to bring them. And they held hands where everyone could see and they kissed, and the people thought it was an affectation, which it was not. And they passed remarks on everyone who was anyone, all their words spat and spite. Like cats, they were. All purr and preening when they were stroked, but quick to tooth and claw.

    Then Larisa died and suddenly Anya was alone and is alone still. And she gave up her table at the Café Tantsy and the company there. The people thought she had died, too. And a part of her did. She drinks on street corners now, cheap vodka from a tin flask. And she says the summers are cold and she wears coats that are too big for her as though she is in hiding. And with the first frost she takes to her apartment and she closes all the curtains and she might be an old bear in her hibernation.

    And the boy who was her lover once, he is old now too, and pretty has given way to gaunt, and he paid her visit after Larisa’s death. And they were briefly lovers once more, trying to find again what they had had before and what they had both lost. But his hands on her were like the limp broken wings of birds, and his kisses were wet and tasted of salt, and his aftershave smelled cheap and metallic. Fucks like a nasty dog, Anya said. And that was the end.

    Once a week, she makes the journey to the cemetery at Kuntsevo. The English double agent, Philby, is buried there, and a fool called Karandash and he stands in sculpted stone and his pose is clownish and casual. And somewhere, far from the front gates, is the grave of Larisa. And the black stone that marks where she is has been shaped into the body of a sleeping girl and Anya removes her coat when she visits, and she lies down beside the stone Larisa and Anya takes her stone breast in one hand and she weeps.

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