rubber bands. There were hundreds of sketchbooks; there were primed
canvases and half-finished paintings. Then there were the general objects of life. The clear plastic tubs that held her clothes, boxes of books,
furniture; and that box full of dead batteries, takeout menus, extension
cords, and unopened mail that every move seems to produce.
By the time she was done, there was hardly room to walk through the
apartment. Something about the scene depressed her. She remembered
a time when moving excited her, when painting excited her, when the
very materiality of things excited her: the heft of an expensive tube of oil
paint, its shiny metal. The potential of a stack of freshly primed canvases
in the corner, the slight ammonia smell of the fresh gesso.
Now, after moving everything, she was intensely aware of weight, of
volume, of how many things life required. For a moment, she felt them
all around her, animated by her, as if she were some gestalt being made
of her tools.
Suddenly the new apartment felt stuffy. She opened a window, but
it only opened a few inches. It was one of those crank-style windows
found in old schoolhouses. Then she remembered her gallery-mate
Nicola’s show. The gallery was within walking distance now. Everyone
liked Nicola’s work. The show was expected to be the event of the month.
Claire didn’t bother getting dressed up. She wore one of her long floral
dresses and didn’t wash the paint off her knuckles. With the sharp angles of her face and her height, she could have easily done some mod-
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 succession—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.