Angels and lemons

by Talleen Hacikyan

Sabine slices twenty-one lemons in half on the hardwood floor, in the middle of Paul’s studio. She places them, cut side down, and pauses before moving each fruit into position as if it were a chess piece.

On one side of the loft a series of plaster-cast columns are drying in front of a fan. Two-dozen angels—an order from Cherubic Delights Fine Cusine--rest on a table in the sunlight near the window.

At the opposite end of the studio, Sabine writes a message by squeezing lemon juice onto the plaster dust on the floor. She lies on the tattered velvet couch.
When Paul comes back from the Portuguese grocery he sees a line of half lemons from a sunny spot on the floor, to the foot of the sofa, forming the point of an arrow. Sabine is sleeping supine. Over her black tank top, a lemon half, its tip protruding toward the ceiling, balances on each breast. Drink me, says the wet writing on the floor.

Paul opens his bag. It contains olives, sardines and a bottle of Perrier. He pours himself a glass of bubbly mineral water. He goes to the table with angels and touches a few cheeks. Still damp and cool. Then he follows the lemon trail to Sabine. He looks at her fake breasts, picks one up and squeezes it into his glass. He drinks. Sabine pretends she’s sleeping with one yellow breast.

talleen hacikyan