34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 40
HAVING TO CHOOSE
UNTIL THE MORNING COMES
LONELY AT THE TOP
“They want me dead. I swear to god.” She holds her face up to the shower in front of her husband, rivers of suds between their feet. When they’ve both rinsed off, one parent will hand the two younger children, in assembly line fashion, to the other for the ritual squirming and protesting under the lukewarm water. The kids have been in the garden, and the rivers beneath their bodies turn dark and muddy. They’ve saved their fruit and vegetable seeds for a year for their summer stay at the family residence outside of Santiago, where, unlike in New York, they have a place to plant them.
After their shower, which appears to involve wrestling strategies equal in complexity to the maneuvers in the martial arts videos that Emiliano watches on his insomniac nights, Liam gets his turn while Claire brushes Anka’s teeth. Liam shouts for the soap and while his father brings it, then as an afterthought puts out fresh towels and locates the mouthwash, Tobler makes speedy egress from the apartment to the upstairs patio, down the stairs, and into the garden, seating himself comfortably again where he’d been all afternoon, filling his pail with dirt, eating some of it, rubbing a fair portion into his hair, and emptying the rest with a kindly gesture into the dog’s dish.
HAVING TO CHOOSE BY MILENA PETROVIC 34thParallel Magazine Issue 40
LONELY AT THE TOP BY DONNA DALLAS 34thParallel Magazine Issue 40