Beauty is one of those things.
“What do you do?” He asked. I was nineteen, drunk in a bar, and I couldn’t tell the truth.
“I’m a curator,” I lied.
“So you decide what art goes where?”
“No,” I said, and now I was telling the truth. “I look for beauty, and I collect it when I find it.”
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There’s lights, cameras, but no action. Just you standing in the center against a nondescript wall. They tell you to look directly into the lens, don’t smile like that, and the flash is blinding then gone, then hands on your cuffed wrists, guiding you. People come in forgetting the rules: head down, walk fast. They walk in forgetting but then leave with a reminder, the cell bars clanking shut, the metal cold in their grip.
I still had to clean the bathroom. Pieces of him were dotted across every surface. A bottle of shampoo labeled two in one. Half full. A dirty razor on the soap dish. I wondered why a grown man had a razor in the shower. Was he seeing someone? Did he just like the feeling? Maybe it made him feel softer, kinder, more feminine.
“She passed away around five-thirty this evening.”
The social worker’s words are light and soft against Jack’s ear, the phone a heavy rock upon his shoulder. She continues without pause. “I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this. Please take a minute if you need.”
Jack wants to tell the social worker that he hasn’t spoken to Kelly in years.