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Peter
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Peter

by Ingrid Wenzler

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About Ingrid Wenzler

Ingrid Wenzler studied Creative Writing as an undergraduate at Connecticut College and is now a graduate teaching assistant and a second-year MFA candidate at the University of Arizona. Her work has appeared in Cleaver Magazine.

 

A heavy fog, typical of that time of year and Peter, looking like he knew where he was going, was pushing an off-white pram so lightly that it seemed to glide on and on ahead of him. The night was cold, and there was a thin layer of moisture on the sidewalk, the pram, the heavy branches overhead.

Peter tugged at the hood of the pram and, out of habit, tucked the corners of Anna’s top cover under her shoulders. He remembered his father coming in at night to kiss him and adjust his blankets; he thought of how large his father’s arms had looked to him and realized, for the first time, how his large his arms must look to Anna.

Coming to one of the all-women’s dormitories, he hesitated and considered going back the way he came, but no, he would continue. He turned the pram to the left and followed the low wall that led to the dance studio, one of those modern buildings, with glass on all sides.

The studio was lighted, that pale green of swimming pools, and, even through the fog, Peter could see a figure beside the bar, lifting her leg.

So she was there, but, of course, he had known she would be.

He steered the pram off of the sidewalk, onto the grass, and for a long time, he watched, while she leaned one way, then another, submerged in her way, moving slowly. He let go of the pram’s handle and moved closer. She crossed the studio and opened a large, covered basin. Seeming to be in a daze, she reached into the basin, covered herself with its contents, began to dance, and with each movement, sent clouds of white dust flying above her, all around.

She tracked the same white, chalk-like dust over the floor of the studio, and Peter thought of peacock-headed princes and their child-brides, of swords, of pride, of fear, of snow rising and falling in the wind—a world so far from his own.

She turned, facing the front of the studio, and lowered herself to the ground, panting and moving her hands over one of her shoes, the bottom then the sides, the dirty and frayed material, and her foot beneath. She stretched her foot then stood, looked from side to side, and, as if she has taken too long with her shoe and wanted to make up for it, began to spin around and around, so fast that he wanted to touch her waist and pull her toward him from the hips.

His hand, since he had left the pram had been beneath his dick, scarcely touching, but seeing her spin, he had held tighter, not thinking, only feeling, until he heard a cry.

Without meaning to, before he had put her cry into words and thought I have left the pram, it is behind me and that is Anna crying, Anna, my baby, is crying, and my wife is at home, without me he had echoed Anna’s cry, so that his cry became her cry and then another, final cry, sustained, caught in the night and the fog.