Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 16

16 | Psychopomp Magazine

the light-up tongue on the electric kettle, bopped her head in time to the bubbles growing angry until a cloud of steam billowed under the cabinets and she poured in the water, mixed it with a fork and finally turned back to the table and slid bowl and fork across to him.

—I’m out of hotdogs, she explained.

He swirled the fork through the Cheez and the noodles and felt the heat on his face and dropping the fork cupped the bowl in his hands and smelled it while she slid into her chair and looked down at the orange mess and tried to feel hunger but apparently even that had abandoned her.

—It’s been so long, he whispered at last.

—I know, she answered.

Dinner

Five years ago the priest pulled up in an SUV of indefinite color blotted out by the darkness and sat holding Rice’s hand throughout the night even though she wished he would leave because his hand was clammy and it made her wonder if he was comforting her or she him. She kept her gaze firmly on the coffee table or the pilled green couch upholstery because she was pretty sure he had a hard-on from the contact, knew that this self-same priest had performed the nuptials not out of vocational obligation but because he always licked his lips lasciviously when he encountered Rice about the neighborhood, greeting her all too informally in the grocery store or the laundromat—why did he always ask her what detergent she used, why did he always reach for the vegetables she wanted—and would grow oddly cold if she mentioned Sebastian, and the first thing he did that night upon entering her living room was to place the wedding portrait on its face without asking if he may.