by Christian Bell

First the room is blank white and then she is placed there and one by one everything is penciled in.  Her, in a loose and flowery dress that conceals her feet; a black and white cat, who wraps her tail around her legs and looks up, head moving trying to interpret; mahogany floorboards and grandmother's chairs and a desk for writing letters.  Then she's in a sweater and jeans not a dress and the cat is resting its chin on the floor and the wood has cracks and dust and she's sitting on the other side of the room near a window soaking up sun and then, him.  He appears.  First he's at the writing desk but it's too small and then he's at the table papers sprawling and concentric ring coffee stains and then she has her legs crossed and the cat has disappeared.  She squeezes more into the chair almost disappearing into it as he is in a different chair, hair frizzier, hair grayer, beard unkempt.  There's a baby high chair, a baby stroller, both empty, static.  He swells like he's allergic to bees and been stung by mad wasps, fills the room, breaks the chairs, breaks the tables.  She shrinks until she's like a fluttering hummingbird; the flutter dies and she's fly sized, then a speck.  His eyes are bulging, all whites, clothing shredding into shaved lunch meat.  Walls become acute angles, slanting into bulldozer crush.  The room fills with red haze.  Then, there's blinding light, nuclear sunrise.  Then, her, normal size, hair crowned by daylight from the window.  Him, nowhere, erased.  Her feet are on the floor, flat, firm.