“That would be the wrong question to ask.”
“Can I go out on the platform?”
Claire walked out on the platform. Looking back, she could see the
outline of the door, but around it was just more of the mauve space
extending in every direction. Then, two eerie feelings in quick succes-
sion—the first was the fear that Spieglenik might close the door on her,
and the second was the impression that she was standing on nothing
and was sure to fall. Her knees buckled, and she stuck out her arms for
balance, then got down on all fours.
“I think I’ll come in now,” she said and crawled back to the door.
When she was inside she took a deep breath and tested her weight on
“It is best if the room is avoided,” said Spieglenik.
“I agree,” said Claire and shut the door. But other than the odd room,
this apartment was acceptable and quite inexpensive for the area, so she
signed the lease.
She hauled in all her furniture and supplies. There was so much of
it. Boxes of oil paints in different hues. Each tube wrinkled and rolled.
Huge tubs of acrylic that she almost never used anymore, a few palettes
stuck together. There were her big easels and small. Her lighting so she
could freeze shadows in place. There were so many vases and baskets.
There were boxes of opalescent stones and glass she collected from the
beach. There were taxidermy birds and wax fruit. There were clamps
and spools of gleaming wire. There were brushes wrapped in thick blue
She liked the Realtor’s name, Spieglenik, liked how
her gray suit matched her eyes, how she was bent in
unlikely ways like a sculpture that had to work around
a huge knot in wood or stone. She liked how she seldom spoke and, when she did, how each word felt like