Plywood | East Wenatchee, WA | 2018

The first face Bill noticed was on an elevator at work. Two push-buttons for eyes, a third for a nose, and an emergency keyhole for a mouth, round and surprised. Afterwards, he saw faces everywhere. On cars (headlights, smiling grills). At breakfast (fried eggs, bacon smirks). On buildings (window eyes, ledge mouths). It startled him at first, these onlookers at every turn. But soon he was fascinated by their variety and detail. A grumpy alien on plywood. An alert collie on wet shower tiles. A happy boy on a taxi’s frayed upholstery. “What’s it all mean?” he wondered. One morning over coffee, Bill looked up to discover that his wife’s face, always lovely, now glowed with a new radiance, a deeper beauty. She smiled, and his heart skipped with a joy he’d not felt in 20 years. Behind them, the stove knobs — one upright, one sideways — appeared to wink.