The Night the Painter Unpinned Her Hair
The composer working at the artist’s colony had watched her for a week. The night it looked as if something might happen, a pool game was going in the main hall, someone had built a fire in the fireplace, it had begun to rain. There was the clack, the strike and the painter unpinned her hair. She and the composer sat on the sofa, stiff, not looking at each other. Someone was sitting between them. One of the pool balls met a corner pocket, and she didn’t realize until after she pulled out her comb and shook her hair what she was really saying. Earlier that evening, when it was still sunny, they had walked the garden path. He had opened his mouth, smiled, Would you look at that, and when she confessed she needed her glasses, he said, Three white-tailed deer. And over there (he pointed at three writers they both knew) that’s three humans with a stick. She laughed. If it had been a date, she might have brushed his arm. But they were both married to other people, and now here they sat, someone between them on a sofa, not even looking at each other when she unpinned her hair. The clack, the strike. When the fight broke between the two guys playing pool, you’d think the first blow came from the sculptor who did nothing but work and smoke dope, but it was the bigger one who finally felt he had been taunted enough, and when the caretaker ran in out of nowhere to break it up, his hat dripping rain, everyone was surprised when the caretaker began to weep about the wife they had thought dead, not gone. The green felt was spattered with rain, not blood. The deer had slipped in to a pocket of trees. This is as far as the story can go. Someone was sitting between them.