And She Vanished
It was a bachelorette party. We were out to dinner. Outside at a rectangular table, all of us women, youngish.
Isobel was across from me. She annoyed me, even though she was perfectly fine and perfectly nice. She was in the middle of traveling around the world. Her pictures were all handstands on rocky cliffs, backless shirts, pink highlights.
I was training to be a cook. I’d spent the last weekend julienning mountains of carrots in a muggy basement until my fingers were raw. Chef glanced at the pile, threw them away. Unsatisfactory, he said.
I hadn’t had a weekend off in five months.
A magician came to our table. Everyone howled, clapped hands. We were in the mood to be tricked.
The magician found the jack of diamonds underneath a mezcal cocktail. He pulled a scarf from the air and another from Isobel’s coat pocket. She shrieked. How did that get there? she said, and then she looked around, staring at me, as if the magician and I were in cahoots. He’s a magician, I said. I couldn’t hide the venom in my voice. Isobel smiled, sipped her drink.
You, the magician said, you write down your greatest wish on this slip of paper. He handed me a scrap and a felt pen. Okay, I said. It took me a minute to think. I couldn’t fathom wishing for anything. Wasn’t wishing a way of getting out of work? Finally, I wrote to head a five-star restaurant, and then I crossed that out and wrote happiness, and then I crossed that out and wrote for Isobel to disappear.
The magician folded the paper, tore it up, burned it to ash. He told the bride to dig in her back pocket. Her jeans were as tight as skin. She discovered the note I’d written, with the cross-outs and everything. Everyone was stunned, delighted. I bit my lip, studied the scars on my hands. When the bride read it aloud, Isobel covered her mouth, laughed so hard that tears spilled from her eyes, leaned over the table until her boobs were lying on her placemat and said, your wish is my command.
Hayleigh Santra is a writer living in Brooklyn. She is an MFA candidate at the New School.
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