by Rachel Kapelke-Dale
She came from a place where inexplicable things happened too fast to a place where nothing much seemed to happen at all; only once she spoke of blood on the sidewalk and suddenly it was there for you in her up-and-down, palely accented English, it was present, blood on the sidewalk on the way to nursery school, blood you could understand. Then she ate a fry and it disappeared, dissolved like wet chalk, because the present felt realer, as the present always does: some nights she speaks sharply on the phone in a language you don’t understand, and her voice echoing through the apartment keeps you awake in the New York City dark. You’re twenty-two and it’s scary because everything has ended already and nothing has started yet, and mundane things seem so overpowering until the still air in summer makes you gasp and she buys an air conditioner; for her, it’s simple, she’s always doing things like that – taking care of things. The blood fades into the sidewalk as other things come into play: tests for law school, sublets to find, faxes to send, emails to check, taxes to file (somehow) – she’s what waiting looks like to you. And in the summer, when you come gasping for breath from your room, she turns on the air conditioning. The two of you lie perpendicular on the couches and dream of airplanes.
Rachel Kapelke-Dale graduated from Brown University with a BA in the History of Art and Architecture and Comparative Literature in French and English, which sounds like five majors but was really two. She currently works in the non-profit art world in New York City. Her writing has appeared in several publications and was most recently awarded an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train's Family Matters contest.