Writing with a nail polish brush wasn’t easy. Violetta frowned as she formed the letters on the videotape sticker—‘Shimon’. She inserted the tape in the machine and sat cross-legged, eyes wide with expectation.

She pressed the play button and the ancient machine whirred as the screen came to life. Shimon’s angular cheekbones were shadowed by the green spotlight above. He crooned into the microphone, his voice cracked velvet. Black tails of hair framed his pale face, white as a powdered geisha.

The acoustic guitar twanged and Violetta remembered being there, in the curling smoke, her fingers strumming the Formica tabletop. It had been four long years.

She had retrieved the video player from the hard rubbish the week before and secreted it under the bed. It wasn’t difficult to hook it up when she needed to see her love.

Violetta reached out and traced his jaw, rapt by his hooded Semitic eyes. He had rested his head on her stomach as his tears drenched her blouse. She had listened as he spoke of being cast out by his towering orthodox father and histrionic mother. The way she clasped him to her chest one last time, whispering endearments in Yiddish.

Skipping steps on the floorboards. Gracie stood before her and dropped Eeyore into her lap. He said ‘I need a hug’ in a singsong voice. Gracie’s limbs were chubby, her dark eyes large and imploring in the flickering light.

‘Eeyore only want hug. No more ‘I wuv you.’’

‘Oh but Eeyore does love you, sweetie. He’s just shy today.’

‘Daddy says he broken. Loopy-loop.’

Violetta pressed stop and the screen went blue, the television hummed. She picked up her phone and saw five missed calls from her husband. Gracie plonked into her lap and she stroked her silken black hair. At that angle, the blue light was an informer, revealing details hidden in daylight. Her daughter’s eyes were hooded, her skin as pale as the moon.



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