On the bus to New York she made a dozen lists, and changed each one a dozen times. On the plane to New York he made dozen lists, and changed each one a dozen times. Always first on her list was a knife. A good sharp knife and she’d use it too if that bastard (or anyone else) came after her. Always first on his list was a knife. A good sharp knife, that’s the first thing you need in a kitchen his grandmother had taught him. Overhead was her duffel. The few clothes she could grab, and of course her iguanas Peaches and Herb. Overhead was his duffel. The few clothes he owned worth taking, and of course his drawings and a books. Dozing she thought of the husband she left, how he hit her one time too many. She could still picture him, drunk, breathing heavy, belt doubled in his hand. She ran. Dozing he thought of his grandmother, all she taught him, the heart break of her death. He could still picture her, with her short orange hair, smoking her little home made cigar, and walking her old iguana Judas on his leash. He couldn’t stay. Off the bus from Texas she found a cheap Brooklyn rent. Off the plane from Ecuador he found a cheap Brooklyn rent. She cut her hair short, to look like a city girl, dyed it woodpecker red. He cut off his long braid, to look like an American, saved it wrapped in tissue. She took what work she could, wouldn’t file for aid. He took what work he could, visa long expired. Hot summer night. She’s on the fire escape, smoking what she rolled, hunting knife, cutting up bananas for Herbie in her lap. Hot summer night. He’s on the fire escape, lemon soda, chef’s knife, cutting up plantains to fry for dinner.
Knives in hand their eyes meet. She smiles, then smiles again. He seems nice.
“My Christ,” he whispers, what a beautiful woman……. She reminds me of someone”.