Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 166

and anyone else who wasn’t Belle.

‘You can’t argue with that, Elliot and you are just throwing that possibility away.’

The blur stopped as she stilled just long enough to sniff, rub her face and smooth away the lines. She softened for that moment, just long enough to look at him without rustling papers or fiddling with makeup. Her eyes were clear blue. They always looked like water to him.

‘How can you not see this for what it is? How can you not see what is right in front of you?’

At this he raised his eyes, but didn’t answer.

After that her voice came only through the slammed door.

‘Clean your place Elliot. It looks like an animal lives here.’

Through the years she would visit him at college. She’d show up with girlfriends and later with Jake, and then Denny, and Harold from Tufts, and tell them stories about her old life before the dancing stopped. She’d premise each weekend with the obligatory nod to the old artist’s life, a disclaimer excusing his bohemian nature. It was nicer than saying poor. On off visits she’d call him a mad shut in or if it was Harold, she’d say things like panic disorder or agoraphobia. None of these were true, but she liked things to make sense. And it made it all easier than saying Elliot thought her friends were full of shit. Full of shit people didn’t know that they were, whether they were sorority girls or armchair psychiatrists. It was for that reason Elliot would just as soon stay away from them all. It was much nicer to say he was eccentric.

He never made excuses for her. When he saw her in Swan Lake