My job requires me to spend time with people that don’t get many visitors. As a result you develop a relationship with each of them. It wasn’t like that at first with her though. The realities of her situation made her somewhat withdrawn, and we met in such a professional context that neither of us could make a real impression on the other. A few years later I was reassigned and, given the option, chose a post in California. I didn’t know she was living in my service area around Los Angeles when I took the position. When I found out it made me certain I’d taken the right job. Having said that; I doubted she’d remember me. Our first appointment was on a Thursday. I remember setting out early, hoping to beat traffic. That’s the irony of it though, so was everyone else in the gridlock.
She’s an alchemist by trade, and a very successful one. In her business you measure your career’s prestige by your lifespan and she’s pushing three thousand. Immortality is a tricky proposition. Organs fail. Skin ages and rots. Even a mind may decay as the brain it’s housed in dies. So she did what geniuses do. She found a loophole.
She had taken a house for herself, really raised one for herself out of the sand, on the fringes of the Mojave. It was a domed mud hut designed with machinelike precision. Practical and uncomplicated, very few changes or complaints since she moved there in 1966. The ideal type of case to manage. She’d officially been with the Company from 1934 through 1974 and had retired, though no pension had ever been necessary. I remember being told by a supervisor that the previous supervisor helped her pick a spot to settle down, and that initially she’d planned on constructing a kind of cave complex for herself in the rock of Death Valley but abandoned the project after complaining to her handlers that the sun was far too intense. This was meant to be the punch line, but I didn’t really get it.
I remember my first, real, close, personal impression of her as well. She surprised me. I drove up, parked my car, walked up to the side that, given where the road came from, seemed best suited for a front door, and there she was.
She’s five feet tall on her best day, and I suspect on this occasion she was floating a few undetectable inches off the ground to maybe push for 5’2”. The mask makes her appear larger than she is. It’s a massive over-the-shoulders solid gold casing, polished to a reflective sheen and shaped to fit the face of a young woman. The whites of the eyes are filled in and surrounded by a dark line standing in for the kohl a person of her status would have worn in life. Black metal pock-marked with divots at regular intervals to simulate the texture of hair rested on her back and shoulders, ringed with bands of more gold at the bottom and adorned on the back with a small ornament in the shape of a sphinx whose wings stretched out on either side to about the diameter of the mask across. The whole thing was linked in a solid piece to a jeweled neck collar which gave her shoulders a bit more width. It appeared heavy and phenomenally uncomfortable.
When the door appeared, and then she appeared in the door, it startled me. I jumped just a bit before catching myself.
“Miss Knefera?” I asked, though there really wasn’t anyone else it could be.
She gave a sort of half bow, half nod in response and said, “We are none other.”
She always spoke like that, the royal we I guess you call it. Never really seemed to me that she was trying to act like royalty though.
She directed me in with a gloved hand and I took care not to step on the billowing knee-to-neck one piece linen tunic lined with tiny lengthwise pleats she wore under her collar, or to catch my hands in its long, loose sleeves. Her pants were of a similar construction and fit and what little could be glimpsed of her feet was tucked into some sort of moccasins.
When I got through the door it startled me again to see I was standing on nothing, in the ether above a sheer drop. It was an elevator made of glass, operated by a pulley system which is in turn operated by a pair of the miniature wax golems which act as her housekeepers, lab assistants, and as a kind of nervous system for her home and the things in it. I was impressed and being polite in a new acquaintance’s home, despite the scare, and so it wasn’t until later that I confessed to being spooked by the elevator (she was mortified when I told her, and later put down a rug to prevent the problem) and asked why she’d even made it out of glass. She just said sand was everywhere and served most of her construction needs. She was right, a lot of things in her home were made out of glass. It was a home built to serve her and only her. She was not the type to stumble around and break things and so why not live in a glass house?
Though the thing that surprised me, more than the mask or the elevator, was that she remembered me. She remembered my name.
Your ka, your spirit, naturally dwells in your blood and organs. Those break down and so to hear her tell it many of her contemporaries, similarly uninterested in the orthodox methods of guaranteeing life after death, would try putting their ka in all sorts of vessels. She decided this was a waste of effort, your body already has a perfectly good vessel, one that never wears out and doesn’t require maintenance. She theorized that human ka could be bound to one’s skeleton instead of her flesh.
I remember the elevator let out into a kind of mud room, bigger than someone who didn’t get many visitors and likely didn’t own many pairs of shoes needed. That’s what I thought anyway, and I told her so. She told me that it needed to be this big for when the men from the Company came to deliver her monthly provisions. She could just disintegrate it from where they left it on the “front porch” and reconstitute it down here without bothering with the elevator. A bigger landing area made everything so much smoother.
After that there was a hallway which opened up into a small sitting room on the left and led you into the kitchen if you continued on straight ahead. To the right there was a small nook in the wall housing a household shrine, to Bastet if I wasn’t mistaken, usually also holding small sacrifices, a lab mouse or a little desert finch, as it was on this occasion. Biggest thing I ever saw on there was the head and severed feet of a jackrabbit, one of the big floppy-eared ones from deeper in the Mojave. That was for the winter solstice though. Despite the cat goddess shrine, I never saw a cat around. Though if there wasn’t one, who was leaving those mice and finches on that altar? Best not to think about that.
I almost forgot the bread, and I’m happy there’s no way I can tell this story without it. The smell actually hit me in the elevator, this yeasty, nutty, earthy smelling sourdough bread smell just rose through the whole place and I finally found the source. Domed and rustic, it sat on her kitchen table. That just made me more curious. It’s sort of tough to be curious in private though, she could tell I was interested in the bread and so she offered me some, saying it had just been baked that morning.
“We should have had something more waiting. You must be tired,” she said. “We often forget how long the journey from your city takes. Distances are not so hard for us.”
I was curious about what exactly she meant by that too, but first I thanked her profusely, saying how excellent it smelled and how it would be lovely with just a glass of water, thanks. The bread was, predictably, excellent, which got us talking more about food and after a while I got a little too curious and said, “Well wait, you don’t have to eat, right?”
Without a word, she tore a piece off (she never saw the point of a knife for such things). It rested in her palm, on the velvety surface of her glove, for a moment before it evaporated into a plume of steam.
“We eat with our ka, not our mouth. Though we must eat, as our shabti remind us during our studies.” She pointed at one of the wax golems clearing crumbs off the table.
The appointment got more businesslike after that. I could tell it was a question she was tired of answering. Not uncomfortable about it, maybe even the opposite. Still, it was likely for the best. I had to remind myself that I was on Company time and this was work, not a social call, at least not entirely. We concluded our business, nothing out of the ordinary as far as the month’s provisions go and no other complaints. She saw me out on the elevator and I thanked her again for the bread and water as I left.
I got hung up on what I’d said for the next couple days as I was going about my other work. Not guilty per se but just kind of a nagging sense that things had been going well and then I’d hurt her feelings. Some guys who do this job act like the people they see don’t have feelings to hurt. Never wanted to be one of them.
So I decided that when I visited again the thing to do would be bringing a baked good of my own along. Of course, I put it all off until the last minute and ended up getting her a supermarket pecan pie that struck me as “good enough” while standing in the bakery section the night before. I caught myself sneaking glances at the thing as I drove out, wondering if I was just making a jackass of myself. I like pecan pie though, most people seem to. Cupcakes struck me as juvenile, donuts not special enough, and fruit Danish just a little too boring. I was between the pie and a chocolate babka and like I said, I like pecan pie.
This time she was waiting for me outside. Her mask glowed in the sun and her clothes rippled in the hot, low breeze that blows off the desert. She inquired about the supermarket plastic bag in my hand and I told her it was to thank her for the bread. Then I heard her laugh for the first time.
“You modern people are so funny about this. No debts need be repaid. We merely acted as the laws of hospitality bid us.” I insisted, however, and though she acted as if she might roll her painted-on eyes at me she relented. She bent over at the waist to take the bag from me saying simply, “You honor us.” As she did, the wind picked up and I could see for just a moment the bony little wrists and sharp vertebrae hiding under those robes. As the wind died and she straightened the moment passed and we headed inside, talking as we took the elevator down.
I said, “Let me know what you think.”
“We are sure it will provide sufficient nourishment,” she replied.
“Oh I meant to let me know how it tastes.”
She explained that she didn’t “taste” as I understood it. In fact the lack of a nervous system meant her senses were very different from mine. She still had all five, but it was all purely through her ka with, as she put it; “no organs in the way.” She “saw” whatever her perception was focused on, irrespective of which direction she was facing. She “smelled” through feeling the composition of the air. Her “touch” was achieved through spreading her ka into her gloves and using the kidskin of their construction as a substitute for the human dermis. Hearing was mostly unaffected as sound travels in detectable waves either way, though taste was another matter. She understood the chemical and aural properties of whatever she took in just by the act of “eating,” but she never got that tactile, blood and guts enjoyment out of it.
By the time she’d finished her explanation, in that practiced way scientists explain their work to you, we were back in the kitchen. Immaculate as it was before with a brand new loaf of bread on the table along with a few tall dark glass bottles of what was almost certainly wine.
“Well then I have to ask, if you can’t taste your food why bother baking such great bread?”
“Father was a baker by trade. We have fond feelings for bread of this sort. We believe your word for it is nostalgia.” That just struck me as so sweet and nice and I told her so. She seemed a bit embarrassed by my saying this and told me that it was just one of several projects she was pursuing in her retirement.
She showed me her laboratory for the first time after that. To this day I’m unsure if she was trying harder to convince me or herself that she was pursuing more serious matters beyond baking bread and making wine. You know, the sort of business befitting an immortal.
In any case the room itself wasn’t anything particularly interesting. A small room with two walls dedicated to workspaces and two dedicated to shelving and storage. Even the things that stuck out were mundane, as among the decidedly more analog implements such what appeared to be an ivory mortar and pestle there were Bunsen burners with gas lines to match and digital scales. There was also plentiful drainage and ventilation.
Her work was much more interesting. She explained that the main obstacle to making bread just like her father used to was that the kind of grain they’d harvest to make it had gone extinct. There were ways to fix that (or at least get around it) but it required a lot of catching up in biology and the natural sciences, as well as developing her long-held interest in botany. She spoke with a degree of awe that it didn’t even seem possible for a three-thousand-year-old to possess about the very concept of genetics. A lot of it was opaque to me but the basic idea seemed to be knitting two similar types of grain together on the genetic level to get something similar to what she was after. You could theoretically accomplish this through breeding, like Mendel did, but alchemy is faster and more precise.
I suspected a lot of it was going over my head but she spoke with such enthusiasm about how she was exchanging letters with botanists from Berkley, anthropologists from Oxford by way of Cairo, and even an obscure geologist on the faculty of Louisiana Tech who’d written what she described as a “brilliant” and “insightful” thesis on river delta erosion. To hear her tell it she’d gained a bit of a reputation among academics in the relevant fields as a kind of reclusive savant, the Emily Dickinson of plant genetics. She had even worked her way into the good graces of one of the world’s foremost experts on plant genetics and speciation at the University of Zurich.
We had a lively visit after that. Another absolutely tremendous home-baked loaf of bread was improved even more by the addition of some olive oil her botanist friends at Berkeley had sent her. She vaporized a piece of pecan pie and remarked that she’d never cease to be amazed by how much sugar we modern people could pack into food.
I also gratefully accepted some wine though I will admit to underestimating how much stronger the ancients liked their wine. I had to stick around even past the close of our usual business, just for a bit while I sobered up. This meant there was time to finally see her sitting room, which also functioned as her library. I don’t know how much she even figured I would understand but it was apparent to anyone, even the wax housekeepers, how long she’d been waiting to talk about her collection to someone. She even managed a joke as she half-skipped, half-levitated around the shelves carved into her walls, pulling out one regally adorned scroll and proudly identifying it as the world’s only surviving hieroglyphic translation of the Apology, rescued from the Library at Alexandria before the fire by some Ptolemy-era scholar either too lazy to return it or too broke to pay the late fees. At least that was her theory, she’d never met the man. She removed the scroll from his tomb while helping the same archeologists who dug her up excavate her neighbors in the Valley of Kings.
Anyway, I left that evening in a great mood even though the pecan pie hadn’t gone over as I’d hoped.
For a while, things went on like this. I’d make my usual visits and she’d talk about what she was working on, who she’d gotten a letter or a gift from, what she thought of the books she’d asked us to check out from local libraries. She was always so happy to see me and it was becoming more and more of a mutual thing. She was unlike anyone I’d ever met. I began to appreciate how I could read subtle changes in her tone or posture the way I’d read someone else’s face. I got wise to how she used her clothes as a kind of nervous system, gaining spatial awareness by how they billowed out around her. Most of all though I was always left in a good mood by her zest for life, how much she seemed to be enjoying the gift of immortality that she’d won for herself. I was in awe of her mind, and, I later had to admit, beginning to fall in love with her ka.
I recall that it was a Friday. By this time I’d begun scheduling her visits on Fridays so I could clock out right on time and be free to have a drink or two and socialize. I’d come to enjoy these conversations quite a bit. I’d become more reference material for her. Maybe that sounds insulting to you but I for one kind of enjoyed it. She’d ask me my perspective on things that puzzled her about the modern world. Sometimes we’d argue about it. Usually we’d end up somewhere completely different from where we started the conversation. I always like conversations like that. Lets you know people don’t want things from you, except to talk.
All of this is to say I’m not sure whether it was the wine or just the ease of talking to her but I got a little too honest. I told her my theory, about all of this.
“It’s subconscious. You’re making food that you remember because deep down you miss eating it like you used to. You’re fixated on this because you have a craving and no stomach to feel it in.”
“Is this what modern people call psychology?”
“Don’t change the subject.”
“We merely wish to understand from where your premise originates.”
“Well I didn’t go to college for psychology but if you’d like to talk to one I can finally get your briefed on that Company health plan.”
“We are sympathetic but there is no need. Mortals see wise men to offer them counsel. In this time, none are wiser than We.”
She was sitting in her favored reading chair, legs crossed, arms nested on her knees so her robes billowed out just so. She looked very regal. Would have, anyway if one of her wax servants weren’t standing on her shoulder, buffing dust bunnies out of her collar and smudging off her mask with a bit of cloth. Her attempts to be bigger just made me all the more aware of how small she was.
“I’m not dropping this. I think you’ve just been nursing a craving for three thousand years.”
Her eyes almost seemed to roll again. “It has not been nearly so long. We have had flesh more recently than you may realize.”
“So what happened?”
“Far too much maintenance.” She waved a hand in the air dismissively. “The energy generated by one’s ka has better applications than keeping meat from rotting.”
She liked to deflect that way when I was a little too close. It was easier to pretend she was above it all in that way, floating above our mortal concerns like she did the ground. It may have worked with some of my colleagues but she wasn’t fooling me. There was a human girl somewhere in there, behind that mask.
The conversation carried on like that for a bit, just her evading me. I hooked her back in with the suggestion that we make it a kind of game, a test of everything she’d been working on. She could make herself some skin, I could come out early on my day off and we’d cook a whole feast.
She was quick to kill the idea that I would be involved in any way in cooking the meal, which I expected. Though I had already decided to buy another pecan pie in anticipation of the occasion, whenever that ended up being. I didn’t settle on a date that evening, or even get a definite yes from her. But she’d agreed to add the necessary chemicals and minerals for making human flesh to her monthly provisions and I took that as a win.
It was next Wednesday, if I recall correctly, when I received a note, handwritten on rough dry papyrus, informing me that she wouldn’t be needing a visit this week, but that I should come hungry the week afterwards. The time in the interim really wound up dragging. Anticipation can do that.
I bore some teasing about visiting my “girlfriend” from a few of my co-workers and took the day off to drive out early. I had my pecan pie on my passenger seat along with a plastic jug of Arnold Palmer and a little glass jar of cultured butter I’d picked up from a farmer’s market, thinking it’d go well with the bread. No one likes a dinner guest who shows up empty handed.
When she met me at the door my first impression was that she was the color of cinnamon. My second was that whoever had made that mask for her had done a pretty good job capturing her likeness. Though her real face-the face she’d made for herself, was more mature. To the world she’d shown a girlish face, with an abiding smile and bright, wide eyes. In person, face to face, she seemed much more like a full-grown woman. More elegant.
Her clothes gave that impression too, she’d eschewed her usual knee to neck smock in favor of a short-sleeved sundress arrangement made of the same fabric, with similar pleating. She’d kept that damn neck collar though and paired it with giant gold earrings that must have been about as uncomfortable. Though I suppose they’d have to be that big to stand out from the curtain of wooly black hair she’d grown for herself. Or maybe she’d grown it independent of herself. I remembered reading that the average ancient Egyptian woman would shave her head and wear a wig. Too much maintenance, I guessed. Especially when you have fleas and lice to worry about.
In any case she caught me staring. I know she did. She just didn’t bring it up. She chose instead to berate me (at least as much as was polite) for bringing my own food and not allowing her to treat me as an honored guest, then she invited me into the elevator. (She’d gotten the rug for it by this point.)
I guess I’d had the thought once or twice before then but during that elevator ride down I started thinking that maybe I should have just gone with it when the guys from the office tried to say she was my girlfriend. Seemed like a better proposition all the time.
We opened a bottle of wine and off we went. First came a tour of the new and improved house. She’d added a proper bedroom (two, in fact) as well as a bathroom with pretty modern fixtures, all things considered, and a small sunroom. This last one had been on her agenda for a while, as she needed somewhere to properly care for the gifts her growing network of botanist friends sent her. It just dovetailed nicely with her new skin’s need for vitamin D. She showed me where she’d grown it down in her lab as well. A long, shallow box (a bathtub, or a coffin, if you’re feeling more macabre) still held some of the gooey residue from her metamorphosis, though a crew of shabti was hard at work on the cleanup, naturally. She explained to me as well that it had been a simple matter to modify a few of them to serve as her beauticians and nursemaids and how they’d been helping her readjust to the hygienic and sanitary needs of human skin. I decided we should eat before the conversation could go somewhere that would adversely affect my appetite.
The food was excellent, of course. My spinach artichoke was appreciated (she’d never had it before) though it paled in comparison to her bread and the stuffed grape leaves which really ended up as the unexpected star of the meal. That one was her uncle’s recipe. He had brought it back from one of his trading voyages to Greece and it had gone straight in the family cookbook. Trendy recipes were still around back then, they just took longer to travel.
We had finished off our entrée (some lovely lamb cutlets) and were split on dessert. I was stuffed and she wouldn’t have any of the pie unless I did. We agreed, however, that bottle number three was not getting any less empty and more wine was an absolute necessity.
What we couldn’t agree on was who should go to the cellar to get more wine, and so we both went. That’s how we ended up having our first kiss. She reached up for a bottle on a high shelf, I grabbed it for her, and when the bottle came down and my eyes came down with it there was nothing between me and the shelf but her, and she was so beautiful.
“Hmmm I see now why you were so adamant that we return to flesh,” she said. I wanted to deny it, you know, act like a gentleman but she stopped me with a manicured finger on my lips. “We have desired this also.”
The sheets in her room were phenomenally soft, freshly conjured I figured, along with the rest of the furnishings. I had time to admire them since she was off in the bathroom, primping. Women are funny about that, most men I know probably don’t even care and would say so if you asked but then again their wives and girlfriends would tell you they don’t do it for their man’s benefit. Suppose it’s a confidence thing and lord knows men are just as fussy as women if not more so when their egos get bruised. I think so anyway.
She came out of the little bathroom she’d carved out of the rock adjoining to her bedroom wearing a light cotton robe. She didn’t seem to have put it on for any other purpose than taking it off and letting it fall to the floor theatrically. In the bathroom she’d rubbed herself with some sweet-smelling oil and now stood naked. The details of these sorts of things make me a bit uncomfortable so you’ll forgive me for not giving you a full account of all you may wish to know. I remember I used to read my Uncle’s old James Bond paperbacks and every single one of those suckers had a scene where the main love interest tells the reader how big their breasts are and how the women would moan so loud the paint would peel. As a teenage boy I appreciated it. As a man it’s always made me just a bit embarrassed.
Suffice it to say that I informed her I was done waiting around and demonstrated this by lifting her up in my arms (remember that she’s not a very big person) and dropping her onto her bed while she half-giggled and half protested. We exchanged another kiss. Rolled around a little. I was able to confirm that her hair was natural, both with my fingers and unintentionally with my mouth. She ended up on top of me. She winced. Then I saw why.
Do you know what “skin slip” is? I can’t recommend you do too much research on it if you have a weak stomach. It happens most often to bodies that have been in the ground for a while, getting ripe. It starts as something like a blister but as the gas and fluids from decomposition build up the surface tension of the blister goes past the point of no return. It pops, and the skin “slips” off the bone. Though as it happened in a matter of seconds on the fleshy part of her upper-arm it struck me more as a flopping than a slippage. “Skin slip” makes more sense as a medical term but Skin Flop better describes the phenomenon in terms of simple phonics. Warm, wet things like human flesh go “flop.”
It did not spread from her arm like a skin infection, it appeared all over her body at random. One of her breasts began to sag to the point of snapping off, her eyes grew jaundiced, her fingers began to melt one after the other. She was rotting alive and rippling with panic. And she was right on top of me.
I would like nothing more than to tell you that I was understanding, mature, in command. That I extricated myself calmly and told her that our fun appeared to be over tonight and that she should see to her own health. Instead, I saw blood and guts, smelled pus and rot, and did what people unused to such situations do; I vomited.
I had to sit and stew in all the oils, mine and hers, natural and cosmetic, for a while. She was in the bathroom again, sobbing with no eyes to cry from. At first I pounded on the door, I wanted to know if she was okay. All I got back was “I’m sorry” wailed again and again. It was the first time she’d ever called herself “I” when talking to me. Somehow it made things worse, a feeling like I’d destroyed her. A silly thing to think given that the reverse could have been true if she ever wanted to do so.
When the bathroom door opened again I got to see her for the first time. She was a bleached white skeleton, perfectly maintained but so small, so fragile. The air behind her stunk of lye. It became clear to me that she’d torn off what was left of her flesh and dropped it in the bathtub to dissolve.
I tried to be nice. I don’t know why. People in pain never like it when you try to be nice to them. After I apologized for vomiting, I asked if she wanted to sit up a while longer before bed. She just put her head in her bony hands and ran out the door, yelling, “We have no need for your pity.”
I slept in the chair I was in. The sheets were filthy with gore and vomit and when I woke up in the morning they hadn’t been changed. The whole house sat quiet. The wax housekeepers had dropped dead where they stood. Unlit, uncleaned, uncared for, the place felt so much like a tomb. There was no sign anywhere of Knefera, the alchemist, the immortal, the woman I realized I loved maybe just a second too late.
What else was there to do? I drove home, called up the Company, and told them I was cashing in my accumulated vacation time. Not that I did anything with it. I said I’d take the time to think about things, figure out how I felt, but that was just an excuse to drink too much and lay around the house, buried under my own self-pity. I hated myself for not having the courage to love someone as they were, I had tried to change her and I’d ruined everything.
I thought so anyway.
A month later I got a knock at my door and there she was, in a new suit of skin. It was different from the old one, though not in any way I can point to as an obvious difference. She just seemed more natural in it, more at home, maybe it was just a trick of the light. The way the California sun danced in her hair and on her light linen jumpsuit brought out the flecks of gold in her kohl-lined eyes.
I swear the moment could have gone on forever, just the horrible infinity of not knowing why she was here, what she had been doing, how she felt about me. The thought crossed my mind that maybe she was just here to reduce me to the grease spot I felt like I already was before I could gossip.
She didn’t do that. She apologized. I felt like that was wholly unnecessary and I told her so but she said she had been a bad host and a bad friend for walking out on me like that.
Then she handed me a brown paper bag with something light and loaf-shaped inside, saying, “A token of my goodwill and affection.”
I took the bag and said the first thing that came to mind: “So it’s my and I now hmm?”
She pouted. “Just because we do not choose to speak in the vernacular does not mean we are unaware of it. We addressed a great gathering of wise men and women today, to speak properly in such settings is important!”
She’d been traveling, meeting her friends at universities all over the world, first Zurich, then Istanbul, then Cairo, finally her globetrotting had brought her back here, where she’d just been the guest speaker at a faculty luncheon for the University of California-Los Angeles’ botany department.
“In any case whether you wish for continued companionship or not, We were bound to bring you the fruits of this labor. It was you who allowed for it to happen.”
“How do you figure?”
“It is somewhat embarrassing to admit but simply tasting the bread allowed for far more progress on my research than other forms of analysis. We are angered to think that we ever could have been so foolish.” She sighed. “Though it seems that we have been foolish for three thousand years.”
“Well I don’t know about any of that but this is it? This is your dad’s bread?”
She smiled. “You heard me.”
“Well then I gotta try it.” She looked down and away, as if searching for an exit. “Do you want to come in and see what I think?”
“I’d like that.”
I won’t speak too much on the bread, since you can’t buy it anywhere and I don’t want to make you jealous. But that night we concluded we very much wished for each other’s continued companionship, to borrow her words. We still do, all these years later.
— J.W. Yablonsky came of age in Scranton, Pennsylvania and now lives in Washington DC with his girlfriend and cat. His writing on film can be found on Letterboxd.