Daily Palette Double Feature
She Likes You
The apartment was empty but for a bar of soap that the girl had left behind. It sat small and pink on the porcelain. With it, Tom washed the dust from his hands and tried to imagine her: the thin length of her fingers and the delicate things she put away into heavy wooden drawers. Tom quit unpacking and looked for other signs she had been there: a strand of hair threaded across the drain catch or washed into an S on the white tiling. Her smell seemed to him a gift—a small but unmistakable kindness.
These days Tom was trying to close the distance from his clumsy youth to the deft movements of adulthood. Earlier in the summer, he had gone alone to the wedding of his older brother who married a woman Tom had failed to woo in high school. She looked smaller than he remembered against the size of his brother, who had restored for her a farmhouse and turned over grass for a garden: a place where you could tell a day was passing by the changes in its heat—inside were planked floors and walls that curved like a white cotton dress.
The women who Tom knew at work wore beige department store clothing and stood too tall in heels on the hard red carpet. One ran her hand under his shirt and over his flank. Her fingers felt sealed in cellophane and fidgety. The touch registered as pain and Tom stood still feeling it and hearing the woman say his name until he flinched and drew away.
One night when his lease was soon set to expire, he hiked the town's oldest hill until he saw his big, bevel-sided building with its open wooden-framed windows and tallow light. He could hear a creek running behind him and smell its silt. The building was topped with a lookout where a thin, delicate figure cast shadows through warped glass. Tom watched until a weak streetlight above him flickered brighter.
The lamplight made everything look like a recording from a long time ago—the lines of things fuzzed and unfocused. It was night and the downtown was lit up orange and concentric. This distance was new: how one storey seemed to grow while others dimmed and were gone. And it was quiet. Everyone was there somewhere, but he couldn't hear a thing.
Daily Palette Double Feature
Dylan Nice is a 2011 graduate of the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program and a 2014-2015 NWP Visiting Assistant Professor. His debut story collection, Other Kinds, was published by Short Flight / Long Drive Books. He has very healthy gums.
About Iowa Writes
Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.
In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.
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Stay tuned: Dylan Nice will be featured again tomorrow!