Interview

The setting sun gave its last

golden breath to the city before

retiring for the night.

Geraldine Ludovico paused on the

stoop of the old brownstone she was

about to enter.

Straightening her stockings tentatively,

she took in a deep breath,

straightened up,

pressed the buzzer for 5A.

Pen, paper, and tape recorder

accompanied her-

she was apprehensive about

this interview.

Rumors swirled around

Ms. Vivian Smith-Smythe-Smith:

famed shut-in,

eclectic,

once a woman about town.

Haringtown’s Boo Radley

had once been a local celebrity,

gracing the stages of all the

most popular theatres.

She hadn’t been seen in years.

What Geraldine met after climbing

flights and flights

was what the rumors had

taught her to expect.

The door groaned open;

the place smelled like

well aged paper and decay.

Old photos filled every inch of

available wall space-

glamorous headshots,

news articles in frames,

stills from theatre performances.

There sat Vivian on her

decaying Louis XV style settee-

the wood’s finish had flaked off in an

outline around it;

cushions were

unevenly faded, fraying threads

dangling where upholstery

met wood.

Vivian’s hair and facial expression

gave one the idea that

she’d just stuck a fork into

an outlet.

Hollowed cheeks,

hollowed eye sockets,

a complexion that looked faintly

as though a thin film of

mildew was slowly replacing her skin.

“How are you doing, Ms. Smith-Smythe-Smith?”

“Quite well, quite well.

Flowers are blooming nicely.”

“It’s fall.”

A polite smile, a change of topic.

Geraldine seated herself in a

coordinating chair across from her and

started her interview.

Ms. Smith-Smythe-Smith began

recounting the events in each picture

that hung on her wall.

On the last one she paused,

looking fondly,

longingly at the scene.

An empty stage- spotlights on,

the area surrounding it dark,

faded in bokeh.

“Ah, my home”, she sighed as she

got up and floated towards it,

a frail hand outstretched in its direction.

Tracing her finger around the frame,

the sound of applause emanated from

some undetermined point in the room.

Geraldine turned her head all around,

trying to find a source.

Turning her head back to

Ms. Smith-Smythe-Smith–

she wasn’t there.

The applause grew louder,

lingering.

It came from the photo.

Geraldine noticed a change,

got up to be sure of what she saw.

A woman on the stage,

looking at home and

beaming as flowers were tossed

and surrounded her feet.

7/2013

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