SmokeLong Quarterly
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The Beauty of Estelle
by Darby Larson

Someone has picked out my eyeballs with a toothpick. Someone has chopped off my hands with an axe. Someone has stolen my nose. Someone has clamped my mouth shut and locked it with a combination. Someone has scraped the tastebuds off my tongue with a razor. Someone has poured cement in my ears. And now I can think.

I sit here now, earless, tastebudless, mouth clamped, no nose, no hands, no eyes. No distractions.

I sit here now. But what am I sitting on? Where was I when that someone came along? Nevermind.

Just me and my thoughts. I can think about yellow trees and green horses and flowers with people's faces in them. It's so clear.

I can think of a story. A whole story in my head. I see it. It is about a nice old woman who moved away from Rhode Island to be closer to her grandson in California. Her name is Estelle. The sun will feel warm in California. Oily surfers and poignant pina coladas.

Something just brushed against my leg. It felt like a feather. Or something fluffy. A teddy bear.

Estelle will move into an apartment and invite all the tenants that live near her to a dinner party. She will cook salmon. She will serve red wine.

Someone has grabbed both my arms. My feet are dragging on cement. Several teddy bears are running past me. I feel them tickling me. Why are they here?

Estelle will be a giving person. She will sense the world. She will let others into her life. She will not die alone.

It occurs to me now that I can not write the story of Estelle. No one will ever know the beauty of Estelle. She will forever reside in an apartment in my head, open to no one. The path to Estelle is treacherous. One must not attempt to walk there of one's own accord. Visitors must be dragged by the arms through fields of running teddy bears.

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.

Darby Larson enjoys writing words. Like these. Hi.

Read the interview.
Issue Four (June 15, 2004): Bones by Vanessa Gebbie «» Possessed by Louise Jackson «» Clouds, the Gills of Fish by Myfanwy Collins «» Her Face in the Light by Sue Bond «» Left Standing by Susan Henderson «» Moonlighting by Jen Wright «» The Evening of the Dock by Steve Almond «» Microsecond by Stacy Taylor «» All the Good People by Kathy Fish «» The Problem with Logic by Theresa Boyar «» Layover by H. A. Fleming «» The Girl and the Snake by TJ Rivard «» Indulgence by Brian Howell «» Other Times at Sunrise by Melanie Ann Campbell «» The Beauty Of Estelle by Darby Larson «» Carnivale by Pia Z. Ehrhardt «» Remembering Elizabeth by Bob Arter «» Tiny Bombers by Jeff Landon «» Green Socks, White Lies by Liesl Jobson «» Certitude by Rusty Barnes «» Interviews: Vanessa Gebbie «» Myfanwy Collins «» Sue Bond «» Susan Henderson «» Jen Wright «» Steve Almond «» Stacy Taylor «» Kathy Fish «» Theresa Boyar «» H. A. Fleming «» TJ Rivard «» Brian Howell «» Melanie Ann Campbell «» Darby Larson «» Pia Z. Ehrhardt «» Bob Arter «» Jeff Landon «» Liesl Jobson «» Rusty Barnes «» Cover Art "Jealousy" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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