Post Road Magazine #25

Biography of the Artist

John Parras

How did you open this door? How did you cut the window and with what gorgeous scissors? How did the sky get framed with words?

At least, that's what she would ask him. She'd put on her dress with the sexy straps and balance a glass of wine in her hand so that it almost spilled but didn't and feel as though on stilts in her high heels. And she'd ask him.

So she prepared. First thing was to remember, then trace your way. There was a thermometer in the garage, one of those sealed glass tubes with six floating glass bubbles inside, each bubble a different color and each color tagged with its temperature, and if it floated up it was this temperature and if it floated down another. The garage was filled with such objects.

She found the clock, the one that had told her it had been time to leave him. After the misunderstandings. After the stain on his pants and the burned eggplants. After five years devoting herself to a vision of the future it turned out he didn't share.

So she'd packed the clock and the thermometer and her books and her books and her books, and left Perugia or Pittsburgh or wherever it had been they were living.

Her father died too that year. The world had stripped her of men and she felt as though she'd lost the tour group and was standing on the summit of a mountain (was it Mt. Subasio?) a bit out of breath and thrilling at the view while the rest of the group had followed the flag, boarded the bus and driven off, and now she had only the view and the breathlessness. The glorious view. The breathlessness of excitement. The gorgeous, terrifying view.

Then the subway to Noho and the art galleries where most doors were locked. But a person, she learned, needed only one open door. She found a place in Brooklyn and drank coffee beside the budding, standoffish writers, writers with haircuts like tattoos or origami.

Also in the garage were hundreds of hand-painted toy soldiers, battalions of orcs and lizardmen, strange species she didn't know the name of. All tiny. Painstakingly painted. She loved her little brother and where was he now?

But she loved him.

The dress and a touch of lip gloss you couldn't tell was lip gloss. Coffee beside the writers, then the train beneath the river and she was downtown. He would be there at the opening and she would ask him where he got those beautiful scissors. She would ask him about that door behind the window opening. She would ask him where he'd been, how he'd done that without her.


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