of paint on a canvas, felt herself in the silence, the space between the
strokes. Then she imagined them farther apart, so far apart the silence
She knew the next step. She stopped resisting and moved as she was
pulled. She walked shoeless into a high-end store, spent all her savings
on five designer summer dresses, all white, white leggings, white shoes.
In her pure white clothing, she felt lighter, like she was only half in this
world. She tied her hair back with a simple piece of white kite string. Her
desires were entirely with her now that she had shed most of herself.
She walked through the Village until she realized a shape in her
mind, a gap, a specific emptiness. She ordered ten large pieces of ebony
and borrowed some woodworking tools from her grandfather’s sculptor friend, now retired. She spent two weeks creating the first sculpture,
which looked like a boat emerging from a rock on black water. Then she
made another, a huge comma erupting from the seed of a plant.
When she went out in her new white clothes, she seldom spoke. She
would smile at the owner of the café downstairs where she ate almost
all her meals. Soon she stopped speaking altogether. She drifted around
Central Park and stared at the blue sky, closed her eyes and felt the city
sounds push and pull her thoughts. She would walk into corporate
buildings where she didn’t belong, wide-eyed, touching the leaves of
some plant in the lobby or just looking up at the tall glass walls, enraptured, like she had just arrived on this planet from a realm where there
was only one type of beauty.
She allowed herself to take lovers, and she took many. She was beauti-
ful, really. Thin, tall, with dark brown eyes and hair. If she found some-
one attractive, man or woman, she would just look directly at the per-
One by one, she threw them into the void. Then the
art books, then her clothes, even the furniture she
managed to drag and shove over the edge, so that in
the morning she woke up on her twin mattress with
nothing left but a few items in the bathroom.