Jacob Lawrence, "Ordeal of Alice" (1963)
Jacob Lawrence, Ordeal of Alice (1963)
Can a Game Be Literature?

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February 9, 2003:

With her sister at the aquarium. Anchovies by the hundreds, swimming in endless circles, like a living loop of silken rope, shimmering in the light.

But it's hard. She talks about her sister on the drive down and you have to turn your face away to hide the tears.

Then the hardest moment. In one breath she asks, "What type of women attract you?", and, "What kind of relationship do you want with me?"

She's lovely, she's lonely, she's in pain. She's your friend who's meant so much to you. She's affection and truth, and spaghetti and beer, and a warm bed where you've slept as brother and sister when the nights were ice and demons howled around you both. And you want her, yes lord, you want her true.

"To be," you force yourself to say. Because at last she's always and forever her sister's little sister. You can't look at her without those memories. Your feelings for her sister would break her heart. "Friends."

Her disappointment is sharp and hard, and you hold her hand the whole day, and the drive home.


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