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Aldous

Aldous puts the book back and walks to the next shelf, then pulls down another. Darren Darya Daryl Dashiell–wrong way. Two shelves back. Three. Ban Barathrum. Closer. Aldaea. Alder. Aldi.

Aniridia.

It’s a misplaced word. Aldous is certain her name should be there: Alejandro comes right afterward. Someone’s been messing with the order of things.

She replaces the slim volume. It’s not a name at all, is it? Greek roots: an, without, and then Iris, rainbow, messenger of the gods. But she never claimed to be getting their mail in the first place.

Aniridia leaves the library, determined and bound.

Aldi

Her 2001 taxes go into the shredder. Frozen walnuts hit the trash, then some old panties, that free clipboard, stained mugs. Everything she’ll never use is jetsam now.

Aldi builds speed as she goes; she’s learning the rhythm of rejection, how to set its acceleration. That jacket. This book. Those markers.

Bag after bag she empties out the old apartment, thinking of scramjets. They have such frantic names. Get one going fast enough and all it needs is air to sustain the burn, and that’s what she wants–that deep urgent glory within her, escape velocity, a skywise blaze away west.

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