The audience’s applause had not long ago faded. Theodor, perched on the travelling trunk in his chilly dressing room, glared down at the dummy. He straightened her little frock and rubbed the grime from her painted face. Though he had gazed upon her strange, vaudevillian beauty so many times before he still wondered at her wooden charm with objective admiration. His eyes were hot with the vision of her. But, it was not enough.
‘If only you were a real woman again…’
He slid off the trunk, opened it up wide and threw Alice inside with a dulled clunk.
‘…then we could at least talk about a divorce.’
He slammed the lid down hard and, with that action, his right hand was delivered a ribbon of splinters. He cursed, in two voices, and wept, in two minds, over a fading memory: the forgotten, blissful sting of intimacy.