Walk the Darkness Down

Walk the Darkness Down

The following is from Daniel Magariel's Walk the Darkness Down . Magariel is from Kansas City. One of the Boys, his first , a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and Amazon Best Book of 2017, was translated into eight languages and shortlisted for the Lucien Barrière Prize. He has a BA from Columbia University, as well as an MFA from Syracuse University. He teaches at Columbia University. Magariel lives in Cape May, New Jersey. The next night, Marlene fans a blanket out over a woman's lap, warming her bare legs, making her comfortable. Les is at sea, the apartment now Marlene's alone. She drops to a knee, unstraps the woman's clear spike-heeled pumps and slips them off, places each foot on the towel she's laid over the cold swept floor. She stands, steps to the stove where the kettle whistles softly. She pours hot water into a basin, wets a wash rag, swishing it with soap until the cloth is loaded with suds. She carries these things back to the kitchen table and, dropping to her knees a second time, arranges them on the floor. She then washes the feet of her guest as if those of a saint. Finished, Marlene lets them soak. In the bathroom she pulls Vaseline from the medicine cabinet. She returns to the kitchen, rips a paper towel from the roll, folds and licks the seam, tears the sheet into quarters. She dabs the paper towel in the Vaseline and leans in close to the woman, attempting to wipe away the suffocating cake of makeup. The woman recoils, starts to say something. Hush, Marlene says. Hush. Marlene tries again. The woman shudders a second time. Please, Marlene says. You'll sleep here tonight. I'll pay. The woman settles into her chair, and Marlene proceeds to lay bare the details of her face. The worry lines of her forehead Marlene excavates with a pass over the brow. High subtle cheek-bones and thin taut lips beneath the dramatic blush and penciled outline of her lipstick. The woman's eyes dulling to gray-blue once clean of eye […]

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