fifteen (boiled eggs and alcohol)

by nike, September 22, 2014

clapping_songThere are children singing in the courtyard. The same clapping game my sister and I once played.

Three-six-nine, the goose drank wine
The monkey chewed tobacco on the street-car line …

If I could, I would rise from my chair and go to the window, look down and see them. The tops of their shining heads. One dark, no doubt, and one light. But by the time I crab across the floor they will be gone. Instead, I cap today’s boiled egg and scoop out teaspoons of the golden centre.

I was the one with the golden hair. My sister’s was dark and tightly curled. When we stood before the mirror and chanted, we held hands. The vision that rose in the glass was mute, but we knew it had cursed us. I felt a sharpness dig into my heart, as though I had stabbed it with a pin.

The egg is done. Thank god. I fill a tumbler with fine, clear gin.

The line broke. The monkey got choked
And they all went to heaven in a little row boat

I still loved her, that was the hardest part. How could I not? She was the best of us. Smarter, kinder, more beautiful. She even smelled better than I did. Like orange blossoms and chocolate cake. But at night I dreamed of the hunter, of the blade at her throat. Her heart, hot and beating, held in my pale hand.

I did what any sister would do. I took the hunter’s blade into my room. Locked the door. Opened my chest and cut out my heart.

I thought I would die; I prayed for it. But here I am, eating boiled eggs and drinking gin in my invalid’s room. Listening to my sister’s children sing our clapping song, and praying–really praying–that the mirror never peers inside their hearts.

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