Eventually I run out of bullshit to say and tell her, you‘re beautiful. Arris gives me one of her soft looks and says, ‘I know.’ Her words stick in my heart as the most wonderful of splinters, I collect them now and forge little tableaux with the material. When they are ready I unveil them to her like proud popsicle constructions of architectural marvels. ‘This is good,’ she always says, and gives me tips toward their betterment. You’re not merely beautiful but right, I tell her. ‘So are you,’ she says, unloading a fresh batch of structural substance.
He puts his bullshit hand on my shoulder while she smirks into my face. ‘You look tired,’ she says. You know me, I say, shrugging, but she doesn’t and his hand stays on my shoulder. ‘We’re looking forward to seeing you up there,’ he says. ‘Really seeing you,’ she says. They’ve got eyes like cocktail onions. I just wanna do my best, I tell them, and they laugh, one of those chittery things. ‘Don’t worry, dear heart,’ she says. ‘You’ll be marvellous,’ he tells me. Some part of me hopes I’m not, knows I’m not, worries I will be.