By Michael Rand

“She won’t stop referring to you as my roommate.”

Sandy adjusted her purple headband until it rested evenly upon her dusty, short-cropped hair. There was a long silence in the room as she scrutinized herself in the mirror and picked at a tiny piece of dry skin that hung from the tip of her nose. Mariah admired the shape of Sandy’s pea-sized nose and the way it pointed up at attention like a tiny soldier. It was one of the first things she noticed about her. “It’s as if we never even had the conversation,” said Sandy, who had stopped fidgeting. She looked herself over and sighed, as she often did in front of the mirror. “I shouldn’t have told her over the phone. I should have waited.”

Mariah watched Sandy helplessly, the way only a lover can watch her beloved when she’s been inundated with troubles that are out of her control. Sandy began to fiddle with the straps of her long dress. It was dark blue with a simple floral pattern. The ends of it danced around Sandy’s ankles as she moved. Mariah thought Sandy looked out of place in that dress. She was used to seeing her girlfriend lying on their couch in pajama pants and a t-shirt or out in the world in a collared shirt and a pair of slacks. Sandy liked to present herself to the world as a customary professional, with folded arms and a stern but genuine smile. Mariah decided to cherish the dress while she could. Although it looked foreign on Sandy’s body, it characterized innocence in her which Mariah had only become acquainted with after several months of sharing space with her, after the emotional barriers that Sandy had spent years surrounding herself with finally broke down and the two of them found themselves next to each other in bed.

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Michael Rand

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