“Look! It’s me!” Case interjected, as I stood staring at The Potato. I released the squint in my eyes and turned towards her. She held a slight, disconcerting smile.
Case didn’t look anything like The Potato. Her arms weren’t grey, nor was one of them ridden with an unfortunate, cancerous growth for a hand. (But it was reminiscent of the livid hand Case always waved at me when I’d put off doing the dishes.)
Case also didn’t have a long, darkly rouged, rectangular neck. Hers was, I think, a lovely neck. I can’t say that for certain as I, like many others – I imagine – don’t put much stock in necks.
But after noticing my eyes held the same, repressed glare they always did whenever Case informed me we’d be having pasta for dinner, Case added, “What… You don’t see it?” I suddenly remembered Case’s announcement that morning – “BLUE-PLATES-ONLY!”
The Blue Plates are peculiarly sized. They are only large enough for a single sandwich, and it absolutely cannot be open-faced – rendering them useless for a full meal.
But as I attempted to reply, “Stop-It! You’re…” I noticed Case had moved, and now stood side by side with The Potato.
They were completely different women. One of them didn’t even have eyes – although they both did have a slight row of hair on their upper lips. But in the harsh gallery light, I unexpectedly realized they both held one identical disbelief.
I didn’t have a chance to confirm this with The Potato, but I actually spoke to Case about it earlier that morning.
Upon hearing Case’s declaration, I hopped up in bed. After wiping my eyes I noticed Case’s eyeballs were almost popping out of their sockets. Strands of her pin-straight hair were flying in all directions – a typical combination when one isn’t wearing pants, only their oversized NPR t-shirt.
But what began to percolate through my mind were Case’s imperfections.
Case was built differently, and the longer my eyes lingered on her the more struck I became. The woman who had awoken me was not glimmering in the morning light, nor was her breath particularly tasteful at that hour. But before I had the chance to ask what had inspired her to want to throw out our generous IKEA plate-bowls, I watched the words, “You’re beautiful” drip out of my mouth.
They were spoken with such pleasure, that when I repeated them in the gallery I immediately became worried The Potato would become jealous.
Thankfully – before I had time to see if The Potato’s lone eyebrow was twitching in envy – Case added, “You know… I don’t get this Joan Miro fella’.” And off we went, into the next room and towards one of those oversized, abstract paintings typically found on the cover of a coffee table book – that you’d forget about the moment the book transformed into a coaster.
Alex Antiuk is from New York, and his work can be found in Ink Pantry and forthcoming in Expat Press. He can be found online here: https://alexanderantiuk.wordpress.com/