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  • Holly Watson

Twinkle Twinkle

Clara Union stares out the window, one foot inside reality, one foot out, and observes a meadowlark situated on a branch, fluttering his speckled wings in search of a mate. She immediately feels an intimate kinship with the bird. The view from her table in her boyfriend’s favorite restaurant overlooks the Willamette River. She drifts off and the noise of infinite conversations evaporates as she is immersed in the surreal sound of Mazzy Star over the speaker system. With eyes half closed, she sways and softens her posture.

“Like two strangers… turning into dust,” Hope Sandoval’s soothing, folksy vocals make Clara smile.

At the conclusion of the tune and the onset a more upbeat song, she snaps back to her senses. Suddenly her irritation is restored, she begins tapping her fingernails on the table top, anxiously awaiting Will’s arrival. A few minutes more pass and he finally shows. Smiling, he walks over to the table, leans over to kiss her cheek and sits next to her.

“I’m sorry. Had trouble getting out of the office,” Will says.

“That’s ok,” she responds quietly. She continues to tap her fingernails on the table.

“It was just one thing right after another all day long,” Will begins. “First, the database was down… for… most of the day. Then…” He continues as he chews his bread. “Then, my boss wanted to talk to me about an issue that happened a month ago. A month ago!” Will goes on. “And then, my printer is out of paper so I go into the stock room and…”

“Hey, you know what?” Clara interrupts. “I just remembered… I was supposed to meet Rue after dinner, and since you were so late, he’s probably waiting on me now.”

“Don’t you want to eat?” He replied, annoyed.

“No, you know, I had my salad already, and rolls, so I’m good,” she stands from her seat, grabs her jacket and bag and turns away, flipping her hair as she walks off, leaving before he has a chance to guilt her into staying. She walks the quiet streets to Rue’s apartment, near Burnside in Portland, Oregon. The cool mid-April evening presents a light breeze in her soft, thick hair and the air smells of freshly cut roses. Her slow pace, swinging one leg in front of the other, casually and contemplative, epitomizes her usual dilemma: Time to end yet another relationship, before… well, before it even can be qualified as a relationship at all. She’s very attractive, as are the men she dates. They’re all good enough for her, per se, assuming they aren’t familiar with her family history, and yet somehow she’s never genuinely interested. The last one was the best yet, or so she thought. Marc. He was French and she found him to be so enchanting, though something was “off” about him. She wasn’t sure what. However, during the three month relationship, he seemed complete ignorant when it came to her family, and their societal significance. He was gracious and kind and so handsome. Then one day… there’s always just “one day” that changes everything… Clara made the decision to scour his phone for evidence that he was not perfect. As it turns out, he was merely connecting with her to obtain access to her inheritance. It was all laid out in a text conversation with some woman named Giselle. He intended to lock her down and propose, carefully leading up to a trusting marriage where Clara was portrayed to be naïve enough to waive a prenuptial agreement, thus entitling him to some of her millions.

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