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It was a boon to the garage sale to be quite so pleasant outdoors. The night prior was tenebrous, the storm seldom ceasing. Linda baked cookies, the deglutition of which had consumed much of her evening, for upon making them, she could not but savour them herself. Thus did her supply diminish, until she produced more and her daughter removed them all into tight packages to be sold. The fruits of Linda’s labor no longer could she self-destructively spoiled by consumption, however ruinous she felt selling something so pleasing to her and such a relief to her weary senses-- alas, this signified little, for they could be sold for profit if she could just extricate herself from their lustrous attraction…
The tumultuous evening having been only ephemeral, the day was brisk but bright, almost overwhelmingly so, and everyone smiled. Yes, everyone smiled, and Linda did as well, for one is far more likely to attain success if one projects positivity, which she believed that she felt upon waking that morning. A young foreign woman bid her “hello” below her breath, her husband accompanying her, apparently seeking children’s clothing. Perusal was given to various blouses, to those that deflected light from little sequins that always fall into the most inconvenient of places, to pants that were suddenly accentuated in their limpness by being held to the light, and Linda felt similarly limp in the sun. Yet she did not stray from it, though the tent had been assembled and the shade there had pleasantly amalgamated with the smell of cookies. Ah yes, the cookies wafted, and it was perhaps for that reason that she preferred to dislocate herself from them. When they could not be discerned by any of her senses, her mind would become detached, and the sale would manifest its own imminent importance to her above these little cookies which she refused to turn and observe and pine for…
A young man, quite familiar to her in his brusque tone and his tousled brown hair obfuscated his words with a mumble, yet his footsteps were crisp and his posture pronounced. This young man resided in the house situated diagonally across from her own. The cat in his possession had often threatened the tranquility of the neighborhood, but it spared him from isolation, and therefore did Linda restrain her dexterity in dialing the local police. Never before had so many people felt such an angst-ridden proclivity to a phone without being able to dial upon it-- the entire neighborhood concurred. No one dialed.
He sought amusements for his feline, many of which were human toys, but once more, Linda smiled reservedly at him, and he mumbled his return. Another woman who arrived subsequently was one who packaged for the local grocery store. Her hands always wavered whilst she bagged, and thus did Linda tarry and scrutinize nearby magazines for long intervals as she waited. The girl must feel excruciatingly discomforted in that line, as a thin line of customers trickles from her line in impatience. Perhaps the quivering of her hands was a nervous tremble, or perhaps medically, she was infirm. Linda dared not conjecture.
Linda’s daughters rested under the tent, Francesca reading the captions of her sister’s history flashcards. Final exams were imminently upon her, and her sister was more than willing to provide her with a mirthful “not enough, you are sitting on a throne of lies.” Linda averted the table of the cookies, though her daughters smelt and indulged themselves in the lavish consumption of a smell. The aesthetic was not so addicting to them because they had eaten several, and felt full. Linda had eaten several , and did not feel full in the least.
“Cookies, one dollar?” the foreign woman asked, grooming her cascades again with pudgy fingers.
“Yes,” Francesca responded, her smile wider than was warranted, and yet she did think herself very happy upon such a gay and splendid morning. Her own hair was full and lustrous, and her dimples fondled her cheeks with laughter from her sister’s most recent laughing lamentation.
Linda desired a cookie, so full were they, so tempting in their eschewed perfection, ethereal in how well she knew that her mouth would never quite know their flavor. She could eat them ceaselessly, and yet her mouth would as yet explore their flavor and their groping of her tastebuds, yet the cookie remained so inexplicably passive in its resting that the flavors would linger long after they had been eaten. She could eat but one in one hour, Linda thought, and yet how tempting it was to delve into such a sensual world of exploring something that she would never know in excess!
The foreign woman, ostensibly one who spoke little English, awaited her friend beneath the shade, and Linda ventured forward into the sun again because much as the cookies seduced her, she could restrain herself under the sway of such firm resolution as total certainty can bring. The sun is certain, the sun observes everything. It knew her, she knew it, though she could not see it, when it was bright, she could always presume that it was present. No further knowledge was required, it encompassed her and she knew it well.
“The Armenian Genocide,” Francesca pronounced, unabashed.
“The mass starvation of the Armenian people by the Turks.” The foreign woman, startled, interpolated,
“That is not genocide.”
“Oh, ah-- perhaps not,” Francesca’s sister smiled meekly. “I don’t know, this was just the information provided for me.”
“But you do know-- this is what you think!”
“No really-- I would not be familiar with any of these particulars-- I’m sorry if I’ve offended you.”
“You have not directly offended me-- you are culpable of more, you did not even question that was genocide.”
“This is the only strategy by which I can earn a good grade. If the time and resources were available for me to research, I would,” the poor girl returned, her equanimity tried and wearing.
“Pardon me,” the inarticulate man from across the street proffered, “but I think that if you were to inquire with me, you might find that the genocide, indeed, never existed. I am from Turkey, I have long been acquainted with the truth closer than you shall be. But,” he paused, “do not think me disrespectful of your practices or beliefs-- however, you ought not to believe all that is taught to you.”
“Oh-- thank you! I think I see now,” the young girl responded wearily.
“No you do not, you cannot waive me from your notice with so subtle an indignation and agitation! You cannot see truth, I am providing you with it!”
Linda perceived a din from the cookie stand, and approached it with scrupulous, guileless pacivity.
“Are you still interested in purchasing this chair, miss?” she addressed to the foreign woman.
“With all respect, that looks rather like it is not your chair.”
“What?” Linda exclaimed, exceedingly perturbed at this development in affairs.
“Your daughters make claims founded upon what has been taught to them, you may have
been deceived into the notion that the chair belongs to you.”
“I can assure you, I paid full price for it,” Linda offered, assuagingly. The foreign woman was not satisfied with this.
Linda simply desired a cookie.
“I do not think that you fully understand what you are saying, perhaps that chair is, in the universe, belonging to something else,” the tattered man said. “I do not know what your views regarding possession are, but you cannot prove that the chair is yours.”
“Just as you cannot prove that the Armenian Genocide did not exist!” exclaimed the voice of one of her daughters.
“It did exist!”
“We, then, own the chair rightfully!”
“No one truly owns something unless it is perceived as owned!”
“You are not even familiar with the words you utter, you accepted the idea of ownership when you arrived here!”
“I did until I came here under the shade and saw what lurked down here-- your flashcards, your ignorance,” the man continued.
Linda walked into the sun again, and arranged her possessions. She knew them, they belonged to her.
“You do not understand the definition of genocide!”
“However, I understand it because I lived it.”
“It cannot be proven, as you said yourself!”
Outside, in the sunlight, where everything was evident, Linda approached the steps to her house to abscond to the porch with a cookie from inside. Those were not kept in the shade. She knew that she had left those inside, where everything belonged to her, where the people in portraits upon the walls were known, and where the recipe for cookies, their makeup and their ingredients and everything that made them hers, rested upon her placemat at the table.
She ate her cookie upon the porch where the sunlight could kiss her face.