Peach Blossoms (story by R.C. Peris)

I require perfection. In everything. I work at an art museum. I am the director. I wear pristine white gloves when I handle perfect masterpieces. Yesterday, I was holding a Winslow Homer in my hands. Peach Blossoms. A delicate, pristine woman setting next to an orderly peach tree. It was remarkable.

My life is very organized. My desk is a bastion of evenness and order. Even my paper clips are lined up. Everything has a place and is in its place.

The museum runs a prestigious internship program. Two people are selected each year. This year it was David Harper, a watercolor artist, and Cleopatra Madrigal, a performance artist. David is top notch. He’s very neat, respectful, ordered. I trust him with the art. Cleopatra…is a mess. A disaster. She arrives at every meeting late. She’s filthy. I saw a mustard stain on her shirt after lunch. There might have been dandruff on her shirt as well. I’m not sure. And her desk…awful. Piles of books and papers. In no order. Sticky notes everywhere. Even on the desk lamp. There’s a terrible twang to her voice. Mississippi mixed with the Bronx.

She’s imperfect. I can’t stand her. I can’t. She is not a pristine woman.

The internship is ending. I’m looking forward to a perfect woman taking Cleopatra’s place. But last night, I masturbated to Cleopatra and her messy desk. This morning I stood over her desk and gazed at all the stick notes and confusion. I needed Cleopatra. She wasn’t the woman from the Peach Blossom painting but I needed her. It was confusing.


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