Dear Afifa

Dear Afifa,
Today was OK. You would’ve liked it. It was a short-order day, with lots of eggs just scrambled. The cook read a short book on Voltaire while I flipped his eggs. He kept his cigarette ash out of the salsa. It’s a strange time. The neighborhood is changing. The trees are growing up; pizza places are cropping up like mushrooms. No one is from here. California reigns.

I thought everything was going fine. Now I am scheduled for a fistfight with my landlord. Don’t worry, I have a few tall boyfriends with pine baseball bats. I have a big dog that slobbers. I have a bunch of hair that I will not tie in a braid. Loose hair like water that he can’t catch with his hands.

Don’t worry. This is not a game, but it’s not entirely serious, either. I will go back to myself after the fight. I will think about what went wrong; what I could’ve done differently. Lord knows I’m not a fighter! I will stare at myself in the mirror and see my pupils big as saucers. That’s the body, you know, taking care of my pain. I have a low-flung kind of pain, always, anyway.

It’s a high up close to tears pain, but I just say the same thing over and over at work, so it’s OK. It’s like acting.

Today was OK, overall. But the neighbors cut down their plum tree. They were out there, on the street, eating Cheetos and cutting down a plum tree.

More soon,

B

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