Nonfiction | May 16, 2022


Robin Reif 

We called it the Buffet of Dead Food: flaccid bacon, eggs—hard-boiled and cold—and toast so tough it scratched the roofs of our mouths. Still, the meal had a touch of grace: a pyramid of oranges, pulsing and alive in their pedestal bowl. My roommate—I’ll call her Maggie—always took one and placed it on her nightstand to eat later.  

When I first saw Maggie on arrival day for our year-abroad program, I would have cast her as Saint Joan. Willowy, with close-cropped hair, she projected stoic calm, though her eyes were so glassy that I often wondered whether she’d just been crying. It was not a love-seeking face, responsive and eager to please, like mine. Her face belonged only to her.  

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