At four fifteen Dory opened his eyes to the semidarkness. Outside a car door slammed voices tires spinning on gravel sweep of headlights across the yard through the window momentary patch of white on walls and ceiling shadow of caribou antlers long and curving makes no sense at all. Shallow breathing chest rising and falling under eiderdown eyes close his mind returning inward away and back.
His desktop background is a black and white photograph of the DuChamp brothers sitting in a garden in 1914. Painter printmaker sculptor shit disturber. Marcel tips forward on his wicker chair. All three look directly at the camera. Raymond ever so slightly blurred pats a black and white dog four years before dying of typhoid fever in a military hospital at Cannes. Dory staring through the familiar image distant and drifting coffee cooling in a cup beside his hand looks up to see Margarita who they call MJ watching him across the top of her monitor. Earth to Dory she says smiling.
Their eyes meet and linger beyond the casual glance of friends and colleagues for years comfortable and secure tilting for an instant into something less familiar. He had never actually noticed her eyes before wheat coloured with flecks of hazel. Dory smiled briefly blinked scratched his head rolled his shoulders and stretched. You’re quite beautiful. She laughs replies yeah right and returns to the illustration she is trying to finish. Come here and tell me what you think of this.
Margarita has added a woodland caribou to the image she is creating for a magazine article about the things we remember.
Jesus he says slightly shaken. Where did the caribou come from?
I have no idea. It just crossed my mind. Kind of fits though.
He has a hand on the back of her chair she looks up over her shoulder.
It does but you will need a better answer when Marie asks.
Asks what? says the editor walking into the office around the desk for a look. The things we remember. What emerges remains becomes part of our story. What do we keep always close she says looking at Margarita’s illustration. A chrome kitchen table driftwood branch starfish dangling on a string in a chipped vase detailed knickknacks on a homemade shelf book spines suggesting titles small entwined flowers and leaf patterned wallpaper. Through a window of multiple panes the edge of a forest wooden slat fence boards banged into a ragtag fort no girls allowed almost distinguishable shapes in shadow and in the middle of it all
What’s with the caribou?
I can get rid of it says Margarita. Or maybe not.