The Candidate
after Carolyn Forché


I was in her house.  Her husband read the galleys to his forthcoming biography.  Her daughter talked on the telephone to a boyfriend in Wales.  Everyone wore pajamas and fuzzy slippers.  A small dog sat at her heels, following her movements between stove top and counter.  There was coffee, juice, grits, bacon and eggs.  There was sunlight caught by the bay window and thrown in sharp wedges across the wood floor.  On two televisions, two cable news channels ran footage of her competitors at an open-mike town hall.  A cell phone rang.  A young woman in slacks and makeup emerged from the porch to answer it, said she would take care of it.  The husband peered over his reading glasses and smiled at the mention of his name on TV.  There was a single moment of quiet before the candidate announced: breakfast is served.  We sat at a round oak table and helped ourselves.  I was told to go first.  The woman in slacks waited, talked on the phone, fixed herself a plate, left.  The dog nudged my knees apart and stared at me from under the table.  I asked questions.  I mentioned the affair.  The candidate dropped her knife and fork, her head to her hands.  My photographer set his camera to autofocus.  Her husband rolled up the sleeves of his bathrobe.  I mentioned another affair.  He said that was enough.  Her daughter sank down into her chair.  The candidate said she was tired.  She was very very tired of this.  She walked from the table to the bay window and ripped open her pajama top.  If you want a fucking story, I'll give you one.  The scar drew a pink swirl across her pale chest.  One breast hung bare in shadow.  Something for your column she said.  She picked up a newspaper and threw it at her husband.  A strip of bacon fell to the floor and the dog rushed over to claim it.  
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