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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 61-62 | volume XI | July-October, 2008



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 61-62July-October, 2008

Sleep before Evening


p. 1
Magdalena Ball

Marianne sat on the beach with Eric. The air was heavy, her fingers sticky with ice cream and salt. Seagulls hung around looking for scraps, one moving close to them, stopping and staring with red eyes in its small white head.
    Eric’s hairy legs looked huge next to her small suntanned ones. The rainbow ice cream was so sweet it made her jaw hurt as she licked around the sides and sucked bits down through the hole at the bottom of the waffle cone. She ate quickly so she could get back into the water where friends waited.
    “C’mon Marianne, haven’t you finished yet?” they called, but the ice cream was endless, its viscous richness dripping down her arm.
    “That looks good. Can I have a bite?” Eric brushed sand off his hands and reached out. “Please? I’m very hot.”
    She pushed the cone towards him, relieved not to have to eat it all herself, but the scoop on top of the cone fell onto his lap, its red, orange, green and blue sticky lump spreading out over his swimming trunks as he jumped up in horror, the ice cream turning to fire. Eric’s scream filled the air, mingling with those of the gulls as they flew off, their white bodies singed black, the air full of smoke as day became night.

    Marianne was alone, shivering as the smoke became her mother’s cigarette.
    “Shhh. It’s okay honey. Momma’s here.”
    She whimpered as Lily held her tightly, rocking back and forth.

“I’m surprised you wanted to see me again.”
    The subway was crowded as usual on a Saturday afternoon. Shoppers with large bags advertising the stores they’d been to mingled together, bribing overtired children with candy. Marianne stood next to Miles as they moved uptown on the C train.
    “You think you’re the first person to vomit on me?”
    “Yes, I did think that.”
    “Nah. Vomit is my middle name. Though you do smell a lot better now than you did last week.”
    “I’ve had several baths since then.”
    “I should hope so. Mind you, I don’t have a bath myself, only a tiny shower, so a bath sounds luxurious.” He leaned over and kissed her head. “Your hair smells terrific.”
    “It’s the mango shampoo – EFA. My mother’s particular about what she uses.”
    “Right. We’re here.” Miles pulled Marianne off the train, grinning like a little boy as they came out of the subway on 81st Street. She recognized the brown façade with its green dome,

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