Miranda by the Window
Francine Witte



After one month in Auckland, New Zealand, Miranda had smashed her clocks and shredded the calendars. Now, five months later (or so she assumed), the light of an unnamed day spilled across the parquet floor as she sipped blackberry tea.

The reporter, a rumpled safari suit of a man, leaned forward, his thick hands clutching a pencil nub. He chose his words like grapes.

"How do you…handle…the waiting? he asked.

"I don't" she nodded towards a ceramic bowl of sweet potato chips. "Go on" she said. "I imagine it might be time to eat."

Yes, he was hungry, as life was always starving him of one thing or another.

Miranda, just 22, was beautiful and delicate, a figurine come to life. The reporter, like any man who ever sat near Miranda, had already fallen in love.

"At first," Miranda said "I would stroll by the harbor and wait for Barry to rain from the sky. Then I would go to the shops and fill my arms with gladioli flown in from America and jars of pungent jams. Now, I live on packages my sister ships from New York."

"They're still searching for your husband. Such a brilliant doctor. He healed hundreds of hearts."

"Yes." she nodded.

"Tell me," the reporter edged closer, "have you ever considered returning to California? You're still young and very beautiful."

"New Zealand suits me now," Miranda said "islands alone in the sea. California, attached like it is, well it all seems so dependant, don't you think?"

"What about your life?" The reporter asked.

"Tell me," Miranda smiled. "Have you ever been in love?"

"Yes" he said, his mouth moistening.

"You will discover that it's not something you bargain with. You don't love someone simply because he or she is available to you."

"No, of course you don't."

"You will further discover, as I have," Miranda continued, "that loneliness is not so scary. It's nothing more than a fruit of this plant called love."

At that, the reporter flipped his notebook shut, and stowed the pencil in his shirt pocket.

"I will send you the article when it is published." he said.

"Don't bother," Miranda said. "I stopped reading about the world long ago."

Daylight had faded, the last of it shining now only on Miranda's golden hair. The reporter took his last, longing look and accepted that she was a jewel too beautiful to wear, one you might tuck away in a drawer and admire on special occasions.

Outside again, the reporter felt his hunger even sharper now. Turning wolf-like into the street, he started in search of something to wash the taste of impossible love off of his tongue.


First published: February, 2002
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