(x) Days of Photography is a photography/ flash fiction collaboration with Austin Andrews of Disposable Words. This is Day One.

The Magic Show ( Austin Andrews)

Using words to describe magic is like using a screwdriver to cut roast beef

– Tom Robbins

“On this occasion,” she says to the empty kitchen, “I would like to thank those who believed in me, and also those who didn’t, because you are still essential.”

She checks herself, tucks grey wisps of her otherwise red hair behind her ears, and makes sure the taps are turned tight.

“I can see you now; some of you with your hands in your lap, others picking at the wax in your ears; even as I say this some of the men are crossing their arms and holding a grumble in the back of their throats.”

She goes over to the cutlery draw and takes out a wooden spoon, a knife, a fork, and a teaspoon, and wraps them up in a tea-towel.

“No worries.”

She is fixing herself a cup of tea when she hears keys rattling in the lock of the front door. The door opens and she hears him give his customary sigh. She can hear him slip out of his shoes and store them in the shoe cupboard; take the change out of his pocket and place it next to the phone – one coin falls to the floor, but he doesn’t bother to pick it up; she even thinks she can hear the beginnings of a sore throat in his scratchy breath.

She does not do as she has previously done; she does not have time to scurry back to her crawl space. Yet with each second that passes she reflects that she could still hide. She could hide herself three times over, still, but distraction draws her attention to revelation.

His heavy footsteps give away how drunk he really is.

He switches the kitchen light on. She stands there, silent, with two cups in her hand.

“Oh, it’s only you,” and he reaches out for the cup in her left hand, drinks it in three gulps, and walks through to the bedroom.

She decides not to take the cutlery, and talks to cover up her noisy work at the drawer: “Isn’t he just… everyone should live alone to experience how much control company exerts. Did you see him?”

He comes back into the kitchen. His tie is loose, his top button undone. She looks up from the drawer; a strand of grey hair sticks to her temple. His mouth contorts in a search for words. He finds: “I’m drunk. Goodnight.” He takes out the knot in his tie and throws it in to the soapy water in the kitchen sink, picks up the change by the phone, including the coin that fell on the floor, wrangles his shoes on, catching himself against the wall with one hand as his heel slips in, and opens the front door, only to turn back into the apartment, take one step from the landing, turn his head around the corner to find the switch and turn off the kitchen light.

“Did you see it? Did you see that?”

(to be continued)

Photo Copyright ©2008 Austin Andrews
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