At the bus stop bench, he looks like a salvaged medical experiment, but he sits there, with the shotgun wound in his head, and passers-by crane their necks to get a better view at the freak show which is Stuart. Remington blast leftovers. With the self-inflicted crater in his brow healed up six-months by now, he sits sweating in the hot afternoon sun and glares out boldly at traffic with his one remaining good eye. And as the cars rush by, each tinted face inside stares; stunned by the puzzling disfigurement which they can’t quite put their finger on. Though above all else, one thing is Stuart’s greatest torment to date: With a single hazel eye can he now easily divine every shift of recognition at his violence to another heart done.
There are always clues. Sometimes it’s as simple as a new sound. It’s the clicking fingernails of a small dog scurrying against hardwood floors, when you have neither. It’s the way the air tastes. It could be that the pillows are too thin, or the texture of unfamiliar sheets against your skin. But it’s always something, and you know immediately. Without realizing how you got there, or even opening your eyes, you know that you are in a strange bed, and it is unsettling.
He took my hand as we crossed the bridge that led to the beach, lacing our fingers and squeezing tight, once, before he let go. I shook my wrist out and didn’t look at him. Across from us, the sand was white, shining ghostly in the light, and the cars passing along the highway below were hazy and distant as coins tossed to the bottom of a fountain. Chill air lashed at my cheekbones as our bare feet slapped cement and mottled with dirt.
The air’s growing hot again in Southern California, and the political climate is boiling to a degree it hasn’t reached in years. Unemployment is nearing 10%, layoffs and foreclosures are soaring, and there’s a new face in the White House—suddenly and surprisingly the new home of Hope. The nation has been screaming for change; we’re at the bottom of the barrel, with nowhere to go but up…generally speaking. What a great time for new ideas! What a great time for a new magazine on the arts… What are we: Nuts?!
Yesterday, Kendra was just like everyone else. The two small, delicate bulges in her face, from where tears are born, carried no other purpose save a distant bio‐history and some rumored potential. The world was a place of darkness, of dreams sometimes so vivid with smell and taste and sound they seemed alive, of sensory projections based on the touch of her fingers along others’ faces and clothes and surfaces. Yesterday, all she had was touch, just like everyone else in the Home, like everyone she’d ever known. But today… Today was something different, unbelievable, unfounded, a myth. Today, Kendra found purpose, both old and new, from the bulges in her head, for she began to cry without reason as she began also to far‐touch.