She Dreams in Colors, She Dreams in Hope
by F. John Sharp
Pasha removes bread and dried fruit from a canvas lunch bag and lays them on a napkin, arranging the pieces until the composition pleases her. She usually places the bread on the left and the fruit on the right, but she reverses it whenever she is about to work on Goran, like today.
â€œLook at Pasha,â€ says Goran, who dumps his food onto the square metal table. â€œSee how content she is that again she has no meat for her lunch.â€
Raisa frowns. â€œGoran, you should spend more time worrying about meeting your quota and putting meat on your own table. Leave Pasha alone for a change.â€
â€œI think Goran is jealous of Pasha always making quota,â€ says Niki. â€œHow long since Goran made quota? A month?â€
â€œI made it a week ago Thursday.â€
â€œSo twice in a month then?â€ Raisa says. A threadbare blue babushka exaggerates the movement of her head as she nods to make her point. The dim light makes her graying hair look rusty.
Goran grumbles and bites off a chunk of day-old bread, which crunches and resists his efforts. Pasha continues to eat as though the conversation hasnâ€™t been about her, her mouth turned slightly upward, giving her the appearance either of being satisfied with her circumstances or of waiting patiently for an opening.
They sit, together as always, in the block-walled lunchroom with small windows, high up, with a view of only the hazy sky. Bare bulbs cast harsh shadows on the fifty or so workers who take the middle lunch period. It is their only break from a twelve-hour shift making metal parts that can be used for cars or trucks or tractors or tanks. They are never told which.
â€œBesides,â€ Raisa says, â€œI think that Pasha doesnâ€™t much care for meat, do you, Pasha?â€
Pasha finishes chewing and swallowing a raisin. â€œMeat or no meat, itâ€™s no matter to me. My food is good enough.â€ She takes another raisin and chews deliberately.
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"She Dreams in Colors, She Dreams in Hope" is roughly 4000 words.
F. John Sharp lives and works in the Cleveland area. His work has appeared in Pindeldyboz, Paumanok Review, The Salt River Review, Lunarosity, Prose Ax, and Quantum Muse, among others. He has edited the journals Story Garden, Right Hand Pointing, and Night Train.