A Portrait

By Sam Bible-Sullivan

Artwork by Alexa Gaffaney

There is someone in the world who

lives alone. They have a studio apartment, or

maybe they have a place with two bedrooms, but they don’t

mind that the other bedroom is never used. They keep it clean,

and they don’t think much about decorating, but everything is comfortable.

They’ve had their couch for a while now, and it has a coffee stain

on the cushion they don’t sit on. They notice it each time they sit on the couch.

They tried to get it out, but some stains are tough, so they joke with themself

about the stain being their roommate. They’ve never cried over that joke.

Sometimes they sit in the chair catty corner from the couch if they

don’t think they’re going to want to lay down. The chair’s upholstery is that

almost fuzzy material that furniture likes to be clothed in. They take up enough of the

chair for it to not have stains, but there’s a marinara spot on the floor from when

they made a batch of spaghetti. They love having leftover pasta. They don’t have pets.

They love cats and dogs and fish and plants, but never felt the need

to have that sort of company. They do crosswords and sudoku and sometimes

a puzzle if the design tickles them, such as a landscape of a lighthouse overlooking

silky water. They enjoy music. They like the kind that has quiet piano and a somber voice.

They like their musicians meditative rather than depressed, and they have

a poster of one of these musicians hung behind the couch with the coffee stain.

They watch TV if they don’t want to look out the window. Their favorite shows are nature

documentaries, and sometimes they mute the narrator and watch

the landscapes, while the meditative musician who hangs behind their couch

plays in the background. They work a job that pays enough for them to live alone, and while it probably isn’t their passion, they have time to work on crosswords during it, and

they don’t mind if they can’t finish a crossword because they just

like starting them. They don’t think about who in their life they live for.

They don’t think about how those they love would feel if they got too tired. They

get eight hours of sleep each night. They don’t worry if their eyes will ache in the morning.

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