The child looked up at her mother, and her grandmother stood further still behind. All three shared hair of the deepest black but few other things connected them, save for their mien of iron and blood. They were brutal women and heartless. And yet I saw on the girl’s cheek a single tear trailing down, a trace of salt, regret for what she had to do, for she would taste mortality but know all along that it was temporary.
Height is power. Height is attractiveness. If you’re a man, anyway; A tall woman is attractive only to a certain subset of men. But regardless, being tall is almost always a great advantage. It shows you’ve had proper nutrition, it gives you greater leverage and ability to intimidate, it forces others to look up to you. Height has always been an advantage. Therefore, there have always been short people who resented the tall for their vast prowess and advantages. (Li Fang Fen: Alright, I can take a hint, I just said that the heels seemed like overkill. You don’t have to get defensive about it.)
The lights were still on when I returned home, past ten. I wished Polly and Alfred a peaceful night together, and opened the door. Sitting in the living room, I saw Jack sitting on the chair, curled up, her arms around her legs, face buried between her knees. She appeared to be sleeping, and the pose almost made me wonder if she’d been waiting up for me. I considered, for a moment, picking her up and carrying her down to the bed. I decided to think better of it, less out of fear of her stabbing me in surprise, and more because I thought it would just weird her out. Instead, I lifted a blanket from the couch and draped it over her, and turned off the light, walking towards the kitchen to see if there was any pizza left in the fridge.
I returned to consciousness, although only reluctantly.
Sad things are sadder when contrasted with happy things. This is probably a self-evident statement, but it hits me hard, from time to time. I remembered- of all things- a political comic about an exiled African prince, who was forced to stay at a McDonald’s while dealing with the loss of his family’s kingdom. The comic, of a well-dressed young man holding a burger, with an expression of soft despair on his face, stuck with me. The fast food restaurant seemed to add to the deep poignancy. The absurdity of the contrast heightened the tragedy.
“Well, Atina. How’s the writing coming along?”