portion of the artwork for Melissa Goode's story

Melissa Goode

It is a year before I can visit the Met again. I do not go to ______________. His favorite room. I know the pieces anyway, X followed by Y, and the unexpected red of Z. He would stand in front of Z, lean into it as close as he could, and shake his head. It was not the red of blood or fire and when I tried to describe it—roar, rush—he said, no, that’s not it either.

In a small end room of Contemporary American, in a corner, is a little painting by him. Untitled, dated 1998, New York, New York. It says he was born in 1970–. There it is—a world without end.

He could be walking down our street, admiring the tulips in the window of the florist, buying moussaka from the deli for our dinner, standing on the other side of this room, saying, how have I not seen this one before? Have you seen this painting/sculpture/
photo? Come here.

His painting is of a woman beside a window showing an enormous evening sky, purple, crimson, orange. It is the last moments of the hottest day all summer and the sky cannot get any bigger. The air fizzes with heat, dust, and smog, not going anywhere. The city is loud with traffic, horns blasting and a siren starting close by. A fan does almost nothing, clicking each time it turns its face. Cat Power sings “Metal Heart” from her new Moon Pix record. He hums. His feet are bare, pale on the dark floorboards. The glass warms in my hand and the ice is all gone. My mouth tastes of gin and lemons and him and the sky turns an indescribable red.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 51 | Spring/Summer 2018