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Adelaide Literary Magazine is an independent international monthly publication, based in New York and Lisbon. Founded by Stevan V. Nikolic and Adelaide Franco Nikolic in 2015, the magazine’s aim is to publish quality poetry, fiction, nonfiction, artwork, and photography, as well as interviews, articles, and book reviews, written in English and Portuguese. We seek to publish outstanding literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and to promote the writers we publish, helping both new, emerging, and established authors reach a wider literary audience.

A Revista Literária Adelaide é uma publicação mensal internacional e independente, localizada em Nova Iorque e Lisboa. Fundada por Stevan V. Nikolic e Adelaide Franco Nikolic em 2015, o objectivo da revista é publicar poesia, ficção, não-ficção, arte e fotografia de qualidade assim como entrevistas, artigos e críticas literárias, escritas em inglês e português. Pretendemos publicar ficção, não-ficção e poesia excepcionais assim como promover os escritores que publicamos, ajudando os autores novos e emergentes a atingir uma audiência literária mais vasta. (

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Published by ADELAIDE BOOKS, 2019-12-11 12:36:55

Adelaide Literary Magazine no.30, November 2019

Adelaide Literary Magazine is an independent international monthly publication, based in New York and Lisbon. Founded by Stevan V. Nikolic and Adelaide Franco Nikolic in 2015, the magazine’s aim is to publish quality poetry, fiction, nonfiction, artwork, and photography, as well as interviews, articles, and book reviews, written in English and Portuguese. We seek to publish outstanding literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and to promote the writers we publish, helping both new, emerging, and established authors reach a wider literary audience.

A Revista Literária Adelaide é uma publicação mensal internacional e independente, localizada em Nova Iorque e Lisboa. Fundada por Stevan V. Nikolic e Adelaide Franco Nikolic em 2015, o objectivo da revista é publicar poesia, ficção, não-ficção, arte e fotografia de qualidade assim como entrevistas, artigos e críticas literárias, escritas em inglês e português. Pretendemos publicar ficção, não-ficção e poesia excepcionais assim como promover os escritores que publicamos, ajudando os autores novos e emergentes a atingir uma audiência literária mais vasta. (

Keywords: fiction,nonfiction,poetry


Stevan V. Nikolic & Adelaide Franco Nikolic
Independent Monthly Literary Magazine
Revista Literária Independente Mensal EDITOR IN CHIEF / EDITOR-CHEFE
Year IV, Number 30, November 2019 Stevan V. Nikolic
Ano IV, Número 30, Novembro 2019
[email protected]

ISBN-13: 978-1-951896-08-9

Adelaide Literary Magazine is an independent inter- MANAGING DIRECTOR / DIRECTORA EXECUTIVA
na onal monthly publica on, based in New York and Adelaide Franco Nikolic

Lisbon. Founded by Stevan V. Nikolic and Adelaide Franco GRAPHIC & WEB DESIGN
Nikolic in 2015, the magazine’s aim is to publish quality Adelaide Books LLC, New York
poetry, fic on, nonfic on, artwork, and photography, as

well as interviews, ar cles, and book reviews, wri en in CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS IN THIS ISSUE
English and Portuguese. We seek to publish outstanding

literary fic on, nonfi c- on, and poetry, and to promote Ivanka Fear, Barbara Borst, Aldo Sesia,
the writers we publish, helping both new, emerging, and Amanda Corbin, Ruth Deming,
established authors reach a wider literary audience.
Mike Hickman, Asa Noriega, Jeff Hardin,
A Revista Literária Adelaide é uma publicação men- Joe Giordano, Michael Walker,
sal internacional e independente, localizada em Nova
Iorque e Lisboa. Fundada por Stevan V. Nikolic e Ade- Christopher Carroll, Jeannine Cook,
laide Franco Nikolic em 2015, o objec vo da revista é John Tavares, Renato Barucco,

publicar poesia, fi cção, não-fi cção, arte e fotografi a de Brighid Moret, Gene Goldfarb,
qualidade assim como entrevistas, ar gos e crí cas Todd Dodson, Taylor Morrison,
literárias, escritas em inglês e por-tuguês. Pretendemos Harvey James, Margaret Rowan,
publicar fi cção, não-fi cção e poesia excepcionais assim Mark Halpern, Neil McDonald,
como promover os escritores que publicamos, ajudan- Adelaide Shaw, Daniel Bailey, Kaitlin
do os autores novos e emergentes a a ngir uma audiên-

cia literária mais vasta. Cadamore, Lisa Reily, Nate Tulay,

(h p:// Edward, Victoria Girmonde, Sharon Y. Sim,

Published by: Adelaide Books, New York Susie Gharib, Bethany Bruno,
244 Fi h Avenue, Suite D27 Sahaj Sabharwal, Dr Daniel King,

New York NY, 10001 Roseangelina Ba sta, James Croal Jackson,
e-mail: [email protected] Melissa Chappell, John Drudge,
phone: (917) 477 8984
h p:// Timothy Loveday, Pernille AEgidius Dake,
Stella Prince, Roger Singer, John Grey,
Copyright © 2019 by Adelaide Literary Magazine
Ingrid Bruck, Brionna Nijah, Joan McNerney,

All rights reserved. No part of this publica on may be Simon Perchik, Brian Rihlmann,
reproduced in any manner whatsoever without wri en Tina Dybvik, Edward Hack
permission from the Adelaide Literary Maga-zine

Editor-in-chief, except in the case of brief quo-ta ons

embodied in cri cal ar cles and reviews.


QUOTES FROM THE NOVEL by Mark Halpern 118

by Ivanka Fear 11 by Adelaide Shaw 127
HEART LIKE A FIELD by Aldo Sesia 27 by Daniel Bailey 130
DIRECTORY by Amanda Corbin 37 REVOLUTION by Kaitlin Cadamore 139
UNCLE JUDGE by Ruth Deming 39 LIFE WITHOUT A SPATULA by Lisa Reily 141
by Jeff Hardin 52 THE OIL FIELD by Edward Bonner 149
ONCE UPON A TIME IN DETROIT by Victoria Girmonde 152
by Michael Walker 64 HOW FAR FROM ONE DEGREE
THE PACKAGE by Christopher Carroll 70 by Sharon Y. Sim 155
by Jeannine Cook 72 POETRY
FIFTIES SCOOP by John Tavares 76 DEMISE by Susie Gharib 161
THE ANNIVERSARY by Renato Barucco 85 THE VOICE by Bethany Bruno 164
A MILLION MARIAS by Gene Goldfarb 97 by Sahaj Sabharwal 168
LAVE by Todd Dodson 102 WHITE WINGS by Dr Daniel King 169
by Taylor Morrison 104 by Roseangelina Ba sta 172
THE STORY OF THE OLD MAN PANERA by James Croal Jackson 174
by Harvey James 109 by Melissa Chappell 176
VICKI LOUISE by Margaret Rowan 111 LISBON by John Drudge 178
WEDDING by Timothy Loveday 180


Adelaide Literary Magazine

by Pernille Aegidius Dake 188
TODAY by Stella Prince 190 JOHN CASEY
UP THERE by Roger Singer 191 Author of a novel DEVOLUTION 209
SPEND THE NIGHT by John Grey 193
SEARCHING by Brionna Nijah 195 JOHN BALLAM
LUCK by Joan McNerney 197 Author of a novel THE MARY HOUSE 214
FIVE POEMS by Simon Perchik 200
HELPLESS by Brian Rihlmann 202 CAROL LAHINES
GRIND by Tina Dybvik 205 Author of a novel SOMEDAY

Author of a novel



“... for miracles to happen, God, need our body. You hear people complaining about
coopera on. As Pastor Charles once told their neighbors frying fish, roas ng pork,
me, God can throw us a rope to save us, but barbecuing sausages, but nobody ever
we have to hold to it.” complains about the smell of baked bread.
And you know why? Because it is divine. It
“You know Pastor, baking is a real art. Es- is magic – the magic of the cra .”
pecially bread baking. There is something
so divine about it. It is a pure alchemy. And “We perceive things differently. For you
all alchemical elements are there: flour receiving Jesus means shou ng from the hill
that comes from the earth and represents praises to the Lord. For me, it is a deep and
material, water that you mix with flour to in mate mys cal experience. For you living
make the dough, air released by the yeast by the Word of God means having leveled
fermenta on that makes dough rise, fire and measured life, not smoking, not drink-
that bakes the bread. It is fantas c. And the ing, and obeying to His Biblical commands
aroma of hot bread released during baking as strict as possible. For me, living by the
is the most pleasant fragrance for our sens- Word of God means trying to find my true
es. Think about that for a moment, Pastor. path and des ny. Learning who I am, why I
Any food aroma that we like, no ma er am here and what God wants am, why I am
how much we like it, gets overwhelming here and what God wants me to do. To find
a er a while, and we open the kitchen win- that out, some mes I have to dig deep into
dows and close kitchen doors so the smell those magical and occult books, which you
doesn’t get into the living room. Any smell, dismiss so easily.”
but the smell of freshly baked bread. Did
you ever hear anybody complain about the “The only book you need Michael is the
smell of baked bread? Nobody, Pastor! No- Holy Bible. Everything is wri en in there.


Adelaide Literary Magazine

All the answers you are searching for. But To us, it seems like we were making the deci-
you have to read with your heart, not your sion, while in reality, we just selected one of
mind. All those other books will just con- many possibili es that were already a part
fuse you and blur your mind.” of our des ny.”

“I disagree. I can’t believe I am hearing “…everybody should write one book.
this from the Pastor of the church in the There is a book in each of us. It is just a
twenty -first century. Are you sure you ma er of bringing it out. Some people are
didn’t fly in with some me machine from capable and willing to do that, some are
the inquisi on age.” not.” (Ch.20)”

“God wants you to be truthful and hum- “Not maybe. Definitely! We have an ex-
ble to yourself and others. He made you pression back home in Hai , which says
good and industrious, but you can’t benefit something like ‘a man who is thinking with
from it if you always stumble on pride.” his penis.’ That is what you are Michael.
That doesn’t mean that you are addicted
“…leaving a book behind keeps your to sex or pornography. You are not a per-
thoughts alive in this world forever. So, in vert of any kind. Contrary! You are just too
some ways, your spirit never dies. It is the sensi ve with women. You fall in love at the
best way to achieve immortality.” blink of an eye and all your decisions are
based on your passions towards a par cu-
“Some mes, he thought of himself as an lar woman. Your mind gets blurry because
elephant walking through the china store, not enough blood goes to your brain. And
breaking everything in his path and s ll your heart pumps all the blood back to your
expec ng people not to be angry with the penis and that is why you are a man who
damage he made, but rather to admire his thinks with his penis.” (Ch.7)”
strength and his endurance.”
“Michael, some people are just confused
“I think that both our lives and the po- about their sexuality, trying to come to
ten al direc ons our lives may go are pre- terms with it. There are others who are bi-
des ned. By using our free will in making sexual too; it doesn’t mean she was trying
our life choices, we do nothing else but to deceive you. She must have just been
picking up one of many already predes- very confused.”

ned op ons. To us, it seems like we were “…we cannot predict our lives. Only God
making the decision, while in reality, we Almighty knows and sees it all. We can
just selected one of many possibili es that only do our best and follow the path that
were already a part of our des ny.” He places under our feet. Things don’t al-
ways turn out the way we want, even if we
“Don’t you think God is so powerful that do everything right. Even if we live by the
he can make us believe that we made some word of God, He will not always answer our
choices, when in actuality, he had made a prayers the way we expect. And it is not our
choice for us?” place to ques on God’s reasoning behind it,
but only to have faith in His wisdom.”
“I think that both our lives and the po-
ten al direc ons our lives may go are pre- “Strangely enough, he didn’t feel any
des ned. By using our free will in making our guilt for separa ng himself from his past.
life choices, we do nothing else but picking
up one of many already predes ned op ons.


Revista Literária Adelaide

Five years ago, he clearly heard in his dream pulse for words to come out. And the whole
a message brought to him by Archangel Mi- purpose is for words to come out. Words are
chael from the God Almighty, telling him he important. Words about love. About life.”
should get up and leave everything behind;
that his place was not there; that it was “I don’t know why I am doing this. Every-
body is saying bad things about you. Wher-
me to go in search for his true self and for ever you go, whatever you do, there is a
his true des ny. noise a er you… In spite of everything, I re-
spect your courage to go a er your ideals, no
Now, five years a er, he was si ng in ma er what. Men like you make this world
the Bowery chapel, a broken and homeless move. I know that the road you go is covered
man, s ll trying to find that which he was with thorns. But I also know that it must be a
looking for. But he didn’t regret anything he road to the stars.”
had done in those five years. In his mind, it
wasn’t his doing. He sincerely believed that “The truth of the ma er was that Michael
he surrendered his own will to the will of was arrogant and selfish. He never had a
God and that everything that happened to respect for anything or anybody. Whatever
him, good or bad, had to happen for some he was doing in his life, he was never happy.
reason. It was God’s doing. It was his des - There was always something that he missed,
ny. He just had to figure out why.” that would make him leave everything and
disappear and he didn’t know why.”
“How far we can go with our liberty of
conscience, without offending God, and dis- “Did you ever think about wri ng mem-
turbing the natural order of things…” oirs? You are a writer, and it may be inter-
es ng for people to read your story.
“I was going a er a woman believing that
the key is in being with her. But the key is “I hate memoirs. But I am sure I will write
in wri ng about her. The key is in words and a book about the Bowery Mission,” Michael
words are in me. Longing for her is just an im- said.”




by Ivanka Fear

“It was an accident wai ng to happen,” Ivy ideas for my next story. I guess you could
Rose explained to Detec ve Reed. “There say my day at the beach was research,” Ivy
were just way too many people looking for explained.
the perfect spot. And then there was the
heat.” “Exactly what type of story are you work-
ing on?” asked Detec ve Reed.
Alex Reed listened with interest as Ms.
Rose gave her version of the events that “I write mostly murder mysteries,” Ivy
occurred on that a ernoon in late August. answered.
There were numerous other witnesses, but
so far not one came forward with anything “I see. So you went to the beach yes-
per nent to the case. Alex suspected some terday to do research for a murder, and
didn’t want to get involved in a missing by some strange coincidence, a man goes
persons case, while others were simply missing,” Alex responded, not disguising his
too self-absorbed to no ce anything at all. skep cism.
Ms. Rose, however, was a different story. A
local resident, she came directly to the po- “It’s not like that. I don’t inten onally set
lice sta on as soon as she heard a man was out to do research, but I do use people and
missing. When interviewed by Detec ve events from my life experiences in my writ-
Reed, who had been brought in from the ing,” Ivy told the detec ve.
city to head up the case, she gave him a full
descrip on of what she had observed. Alex sat back in his chair and regarded Ms.
Rose as objec vely as he could. They had
“So how is it that you remember so many met once before when he worked a missing
details of the day?” the detec ve interrupt- persons case in town which had turned into
ed Ivy as she rambled on about what she a murder inves ga on. Ivy Rose had been
had observed at the beach yesterday. his prime suspect. Ms. Rose was a recently
re red teacher who had turned her hobby
“Well, some people think I’m a bit nosy, of reading mysteries into a new career of
but it’s just that I’m observant. Being a wri ng. She had published numerous sto-
writer, I’m constantly on the lookout for ries and was currently working on her sec-
ond novel. Alex knew she was somewhere


Adelaide Literary Magazine

around his age, as he was close to re ring friends. A preliminary police search was
himself. His impression of Ivy Rose was that conducted when he was reported missing
she was a typical middle-aged woman, not at 11:30, as there was a concern because
una rac ve but also not remarkable at first of the water and the rocks,” Detec ve Reed
glance. No one would be likely to no ce her said.
in a crowd. Alex looked down at the notes
he had taken from their conversa on so far. “I guess it was about 4. I didn’t hear
anything about the missing man ll some-
Ivy Rose’s recollec on of yesterday was
a mixed jumble of seemingly unrelated me early this morning when I read about
events. Alex wondered if her wri ng was it online. A er the fender bender, there
equally disjointed. He was having difficulty was already a police cruiser on site by the
seeing how any of it connected to the miss-
ing 46 year old male. Yet Ms. Rose seemed me I reached the end of the beach road
convinced that somewhere in her observa- and circled back around to the spot where
the accident had happened. Traffic was
ons lay the clue to Mar n Reece’s disap- slow, with the two cars involved blocking
pearance at The Cove some me late yester- half the road. The police officer was tak-
day evening. ing notes and some people were standing
around watching. There was a smaller black
“So you say you only heard the collision, car with considerable damage to the front
but saw nothing?” Alex asked, in an at- and a very expensive black SUV with almost
tempt to clarify if the minor fender bender no damage. I guess one of the drivers must
had anything to do with Mar n Reece. have been distracted. A young couple stood
next to the small car talking to the officer,
All the parking spots had been filled and while a man of about 40 was inspec ng his
cars were lined up and down the sides of SUV,” Ivy said. “A while later I also no ced
the only beach access road that Sunday. a paramedic van driving up and down the
There were cars facing the wrong way, cars road, but I assumed they were keeping an
backed in, cars parked at an angle, cars eye out just in case, what with all the peo-
everywhere. Added to the constant flow ple around and the heat. You never know
of traffic up and down the road were pe- what might happen.”
destrians and bicyclists weaving along and
across the road. Ivy had been driving along Alex noted that Ms. Rose also thought
the road looking for a parking spot when it important to men on that while she was
she heard the loud crunch a few car lengths si ng on a bench enjoying an ice cream
behind her. later on, she exchanged gree ngs with the
parents of two young children on the play-
“Yes, that’s right. I looked in my rear view ground.
mirror and saw a red pickup and a darker
vehicle behind it, but they didn’t seem to “They seemed to be having a difficult
be involved. I had to keep my eyes on the me keeping track of them,” she said. “One
road with all the kids running around, so I would go in one direc on, the other in an-
didn’t look too long in my rear view,” Ivy other. While the mom was in the bathroom,
confirmed. the dad almost lost sight of his li le girl
when she ran off to the climbers and the
“And this was about 4pm? That’s five boy wandered towards the parking lot. He
hours before Mr. Reece was missed by his


Revista Literária Adelaide

didn’t seem to know which one to go a er beach under the umbrella and read his nov-
first.” el. He seemed a bit on edge, Mark told the
detec ve. Carey, Mark, and Wendy alter-
“How does that relate to the missing per- nated between swimming in the water and
son?” interjected Alex, with a sigh of exas- sunning themselves on the sandy beach.
pera on.
“He can’t swim. The water makes him
“I’m just saying it only takes a second for nervous,” Carey told Detec ve Reed. “I’m
a child to get lost,” said Ivy. not sure why he was so eager to go to the
lake yesterday a ernoon. It was all his idea
“Mr. Reece is not a child. I’m sure he can for the four of us to drive out here and get
take care of himself.” away from the city for the day. Usually he
just reluctantly comes along with me be-
“Child or not, it only takes a second cause he knows I love the beach. He won’t
for something to happen. You have to be go in the water, at least not much past his
watching all the me.” knees.”

There had been a lot of ac vity at The At about 8pm, Mar n got up and said
Cove yesterday. Volleyball nets, umbrel- he needed to stretch his legs and was going
las, pop-up tents, and barbecues do ed for a walk, but should be back before dark.
the beach and grass along the lake. Life When Carey offered to go with him, he told
guards were on duty from 10am to 7pm at her to stay and enjoy the last li le bit of
The Cove and they had already been inter- the sun. She watched him head down the
viewed. Their eyes had been on the water, boardwalk as she rejoined Mark and Wen-
and they reported there had been no sign dy in the water for one last swim of the day.
of anyone in distress that day. In any case,
Mar n had last been seen by his friends at By 9pm, he hadn’t returned. Carey had
8 o’clock. tried tex ng and calling him a few mes,
but he didn’t respond. She thought that
*** was odd as he’d been checking his phone
so frequently earlier. As the sky grew darker
Carey Reece, Mar n’s wife, and another and the crowd grew thinner, she started to
couple, Mark and Wendy Campbell, had wonder why he wasn’t back yet.
placed a 911 call at 11:30 last night. A er
conduc ng a thorough search of the area “I wasn’t too worried at that point. He
and finding no sign of Mar n, the police de- o en takes long walks,” Carey said. “But it
cided there was nothing further they could was ge ng dark quickly and I hadn’t heard
do un l morning. They were currently from him, so naturally, I was concerned.”
checking the beaches and parks in the area,
searching the lake, as well as conduc ng a “Had you no ced any change in Mar n’s
door to door inquiry of nearby homes in behaviour during the last few weeks?” Alex
the town of Richtown. asked Carey.

When Alex interviewed Mar n’s wife “What do you mean?” Carey asked.
and friends in the early hours, they were
visibly distraught. According to Mark, Mar- “Had he been depressed or did he have
any problems?” Alex elaborated.
n had been checking his phone fairly o en
during the late a ernoon as he lay on the


Adelaide Literary Magazine

“You’re not thinking he inten onally did flashlight out of the car and started down
something to hurt himself?” Carey asked, the boardwalk and Carey said she would
appearing shocked. “He would never do drive down to the other end of the beach,
that. And no, we don’t have any problems.” where the pier is, while Wendy stayed be-
hind in case he came back in the mean me.
“Um, what about…?” Wendy started but I walked along the boardwalk and swept
got cut off. my flashlight onto the beach and rocks as I
went along, looking for any sign of Mar n.”
“Everything is fine,” Carey said.
“Did you see anyone else of interest?”
“He did men on to me a couple of mes the detec ve asked Mark.
that he was having some money problems,”
Mark spoke up. “Sorry, Carey, but if it helps “No, it was ge ng pre y deserted by
find Mar n, then the police should know.” then. A few people were s ll packing up.
There were cars driving up and down the
Carey nodded her head and said, “Yes, strip, but not many people on the board-
of course, but it’s not that bad, really.” walk or along the water. I passed a couple
of joggers,” Mark told him. “I stopped them
“Mar n told Mark he owed a lot of mon- to ask if they had seen a forty-something
ey to a private lender, that guy with the fan- man walking on his own, but no luck.”
cy black SUV I saw you si ng in last week,”
Wendy said. “I kept trying to call Mar n every 5 min-
utes,” Wendy added. “There weren’t too
“We’re managing. It’s all under control,” many people le on the beach by this me
Carey insisted. “And Mar n would hardly and it was sort of creepy being on my own,
jump in the lake because of a temporary even though the boardwalk is lit up.”
cash flow problem.”
“What about you? What happened when
“Are the two of you having any other dif- you got to the pier?” asked Alex, turning to
ficul es apart from the financial setback?” Carey.
Alex asked.
“I drove slowly, and glanced in both di-
“No, we’re good,” Carey said. rec ons in case he was heading back to
The Cove, but I couldn’t really see that
Alex noted that Wendy and Mark ex- well. There were a couple of joggers on the
changed a ques oning look, but remained boardwalk and a few people s ll packing
silent. A er asking a few more ques ons, up stuff in their cars, but no sign of Mar n,”
Alex learned that Carey and Mar n had Carey told him. “I parked along the road in
been married for 8 years and had no chil- front of the beach shack and checked out
dren. They lived in a condo in the city and the area. I walked all around the beach
both worked in real estate. Mar n and shack, which was closed by then and
Carey had met the Campbells when they checked the washroom, which was also
moved into their building last year. closed. Then I walked towards the pier a
bit, but I couldn’t really see whether there
“So a er you became worried about Mar- was anyone out there. Although I honest-
n, what did you do?” con nued Alex. ly couldn’t imagine him going out there on
his own with his fear of the water. That’s
“We waited a while longer, then decid-
ed we’d be er go look for him before it got
pitch dark,” explained Mark. “So, I got a


Revista Literária Adelaide

why I le the pier and started walking along day, from a child crying about ge ng the
the boardwalk back in the direc on of The wrong flavour of ice cream to an older lady
Cove, and that’s where I met up with Mark.” being helped down from the boardwalk by
a passing stranger to a mother too busy on
“That’s right,” Mark said. “Carey told me her phone to watch her toddler playing on
to turn around and take another sweep of the rocks,” Alex noted.
the boardwalk and beach on my way back
to The Cove and she headed back along the “Yes, you can never be too careful. Ac-
boardwalk towards the car.” cidents happen all the me. Some parents
just don’t realize you have to keep an eye
“I took another look around the beach on them constantly,” Ivy explained. “And
shack and the pier area. Then I drove back to don’t get me started on the teenagers! You
The Cove and we all waited in the spot where should have seen them on the pier, climb-
we had last seen Mar n,” Carey added. ing and jumping off the wall. One was even
on the roof of the u lity building, consid-
“What me did you get back to The Cove?” ering taking a leap. It made me nervous to
Alex inquired. even watch, so I didn’t spend a long me
on the pier. The signs said: ‘No diving. Stay
“It must have been between 10 and 10:30,” off the roof.’ One wrong calcula on and
Carey answered. you could hit the concrete or the rocks. Not
that it was any safer on the other side of
“No, it was way a er 11. We waited for the pier.”
you to come back and then we called 911,”
Wendy reminded her. “What do you mean?”

“Did you see anyone or anything out of “Well, with the water levels so high, the
the ordinary around the pier?” asked Alex. lower sec on of the pier was submerged. I
saw a couple of young girls walking there,
“No,” said Carey. wading through the water, which got deep-
er the further in they went. They lost their
“No one at all? Are you sure?” foo ng a few mes and remarked how slip-
pery it was, before they climbed the steps
“Well, um, there was a woman si ng back to the upper walkway. They shouldn’t
at the gazebo by the pier. I saw her when have been there at all. The signs on the bar-
I looked out towards the pier, and I called ricade said: ‘Cau on. Slippery when wet.
out and asked her if she had seen Mar n, Please stay on the pedestrian walkway.’
but she didn’t. She seemed to be busy do- One misstep and you could quickly find
ing something on her ipad, so I doubt she yourself tripping over the submerged ledge
would have no ced anybody,” Carey said. and into the channel. But I guess young
people think nothing bad will ever happen
*** to them, don’t they?”

Alex Reed was ge ng rather weary listening Alex was aware that the harbour had
to Ivy Rose’s account of her day at the beach, been closed as a result of the high water
but he suspected that somewhere within levels. The dock was under water. The con-
her snippets of informa on there could be a crete pier on the beach side of the harbour
vital clue as to Mar n Reece’s whereabouts.

“I no ce that you seemed to be aware of
everything going on at that beach yester-


Adelaide Literary Magazine

was also submerged and there was a bar- for someone. Maybe she called out to me
ricade set up to direct people to the upper and I didn’t hear her?”
walkway along the le side. The right side
of the pier was adjacent to the deep chan- “Did you no ce anything else unusual af-
nel where ships came into the port. A few ter it became dark?” Alex pressed.
buoys marked the edge of the pier to guide
boats away from the edge. A couple of “Yes, it was that SUV. I saw it again. The
tugboats and fishing vessels could be seen one from the accident. That’s what I’ve been
moored to the far side of the harbour. trying to tell you,” Ivy said.

“Ge ng back to your observa ons of “Where?”
yesterday, I’m wondering how you knew
the tles of books people were reading, the “In the parking lot across the road from
fact that two seagulls were figh ng over the beach shack. I was going back to my car
an empty french fry box, and the name of to head home and I walked past it. There
some young boy walking by, and yet you were two men si ng in the front seats, ar-
never men oned a woman asking wheth- guing,” Ivy went on.
er you had seen Mar n,” Alex said, closely
watching Ivy’s reac on. “How do you know they were arguing?
Did you hear what they were talking about?”
“When was this?” Ivy asked. Alex asked.

“Some me between 9 and 11. Were you “Their voices were raised and their tone
s ll down by the lake at that me?” Alex was confronta onal. But no, I don’t know
asked. what they were saying. I don’t like to s ck
my nose in other people’s business, so I just
“Yes, for some of that me I was. I want- kept walking to my car,” said Ivy.
ed to watch the sunset over the lake, so I
sat down in the gazebo by the pier. Then I Alex raised his eyebrows.
guess I lost track of me while I was work-
ing a story on my iPad,” Ivy answered. “I sat in the car for a while and added a few
more paragraphs to the story I was wri ng,
“Did a woman approach you and ask then started out of the lot. As I was leaving, I
about Mar n?” no ced the two men ge ng out of the SUV
and heading towards the pier,” Ivy added.
“I don’t think so.”
“So, Ms. Rose, what do you think hap-
“Either you saw this woman or you didn’t. pened to Mar n Reece?”
Which is it?” Detec ve Reed persisted.
Someone, he thought to himself, isn’t
“Well, I got so caught up in wri ng my telling the truth. Ivy Rose, he knew, from
story once the sun had set that I wasn’t re- his past experience with her, didn’t always
ally paying much a en on to anything else. believe in honesty being the best policy.
It was rather deserted on the beach by that
“Well, it’s a dangerous place, the lake.
me, but a few joggers were on the board- Especially that flooded pier,” Ivy said.
walk and some people were s ll packing
up their stuff to go home,” Ivy explained. “So you’re saying he may have slipped off
“There was a woman walking alone along the pier and no one no ced or tried to save
the pier, though. She seemed to be wai ng him?” Alex asked her, leaning forward in his
seat. “How is that possible?”


Revista Literária Adelaide

“It was dark, for one thing. There was “Oh no, not at all,” Ivy looked him straight
hardly anyone around anywhere. And most in the eye. “Detec ve Reed, I suspect there’s
people aren’t that observant, for another. a lot more to this story. I wonder, did Mar-
Maybe no one was watching,” Ivy speculated.
n have a life insurance policy? In any case
“But you were?” when you do locate Mar n’s body off the
pier, I think you’ll find there’s been a murder.”
“Yes, yes, I was.”

“And you think Mar n accidentally slipped
off the side of the pier unno ced?” Alex
asked again.

About the Author

Ivanka Fear is a re red teacher and a writer from Ontario, Canada. She holds a B.A. and B.Ed.,
majoring in English and French literature, from Western University. Her poems and short
stories appear in or are forthcoming in Spadina Literary Review, Montreal Writes, Spillwords,
Commuterlit, Canadian Stories, Adelaide Literary, October Hill, Scarlet Leaf Review, Polar
Borealis, Lighten Up, Bewildering Stories, The Sirens Call, Utopia Science Fic on, The Literary
Hatchet, Wellington Street Review, Aphelion, Sad Girl Review, and Tales From the Moonlit
Path. She has recently completed her first novel.



by Barbara Borst

Maria slumped onto the brown plaid sofa in that kept them talking. But she had never
her friend’s combina on living room, dining quite felt that “You don’t say” and “So it
area and kitchen. She was red. Not from is” amounted to a conversa on. Of course,
bathing and dressing Janet and changing Fred could say even less to the summer
her sheets and serving her supper. She was people who stopped only long enough to
used to doing that all day at the hospital. pick up an out-of-town newspaper, never
to share their thoughts on local events.
Janet had always seemed the lucky one to her,
with her bright blue eyes, her good-looking She longed for the constant jabber of
husband, her four children, two born before her old home. Her father’s twisted English
the war and two a er, and her seven grand- sprinkled with Italian dialect. Her mother’s
children all nearby. But now she was going. brogue. Her sisters’ gossip and giggles, their
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Lou Gehrig’s children running through the house in Car-
disease everyone called it, as if Janet had roll Gardens a short walk from the docks.
ever played a game of baseball.
As she waited for Ray, she wondered if
And with that, Maria knew she was los- she had ever fit in even in Brooklyn. She
ing the one friend she could really talk to, certainly hadn’t followed the plan everyone
one of the few who had welcomed her here seemed to have for her. The nuns at school
in the north country, where she s ll didn’t started talking to her early about a voca-
fit in a er two decades. She was s ll the girl
from Brooklyn, the I-talian, the papist. Not on, a calling, a life like theirs, limited to
that they said that to her face. They didn’t the classroom and the convent. They never
say much at all, just looked. And she looked talked to the pre y girls about such things.
different. But Maria had only pretended to listen. It
wasn’t a lack of faith in Jesus. It was that
Maria waited for Janet’s husband, Ray, she wanted to live out in the world. Besides,
to return from his job at the paper mill, she had discovered at the age of eight that
smelling faintly of sulfur. She would chat a the nuns cut off all their hair when they
li le with a man she had always found at- took their vows. Her own silky, dark brown
trac ve. curls were her finest feature. Not cu ng
them off, she had decided.
Then she would head home to silent
Fred, who managed to make his custom- That decision didn’t open the path she
ers happy with just a few vague comments really wanted – to become a doctor. Not


Revista Literária Adelaide

possible for a girl, especially not for one just had to walk across the street to reach
from a poor immigrant family. But nursing, the gas sta on and general store he had
that was a calling, too. She studied hard in inherited from his father and grandfather
science and math, though she was told that and great-grandfather. Supposed to have
girls were not good at those subjects. She gone to his older brother, who didn’t come
liked the uniform – crisp white, not flowing back from the Pacific war, so Fred took it on.
black like the nuns. Her parents seemed to
sigh in relief that at least she would have Fred was a good man, Maria thought as
a way to earn a living, supposing no one she steered the truck through the gathering
asked her to marry him. A respectable life, slush. Most men wouldn’t let their wives
though alone. drive a truck. Not proper. But he was con-
cerned about her safety, not propriety. And
It was different caring for her best friend. they both understood that her job paid the
In the hospital, she could be a en ve but bills during the long winters when the sum-
professional; she rarely carried the burdens mer people and their money were away.
of her pa ents home with her, except in
the cases of small children. But Janet, what Old truck. The one in which he had taught
would she do without Janet? a Brooklyn girl to drive, to double-clutch,
to downshi early on the steep hills up
Maria heard Ray’s car pull into the grav- here, to bounce along the rough dirt tracks.
el driveway. He shut the car door, entered She had confidence that it would get her
the mudroom, slid off his boots and came through. Any machine he handled would be
into the main area. in perfect working order – car, truck, tractor,
jeep, plane. That’s the one way he seems to
“Hey, Maria.” express himself, she thought, with a wrench
and motor oil.
“Hi, Ray.”
She saw a car, broken down. The driver
“How’s she doin’ tonight?” waved for her to stop.

Maria reported on Janet’s condi on and “Can I drive you to work?” she called out.
what she might need in the coming days,
when Ray’s daughters would take turns car- “Thanks, Maria.” Two neighbors crowded
ing for their mother. He thanked her for all into the cab with her.
the details, then headed toward the bed-
room. Maria heard the sweetness of his She recommended that they call Fred
voice as he told Janet that he had brought when they reached the factory, gave them
her favorite – chocolate ice cream. the number for the pay phone at the gas
sta on. “He’ll come with the tow truck,” she
*** assured them.

“Snow’s acoming,” Fred said as he and Ma- Too early for more talk than that. But
ria rose early on an October morning. He here in a land of paper mills, maple sugar-
handed her the keys to his pick-up truck. ing and odd jobs, something beau ful in
the way people looked a er each other, she
The snow was falling thick and wet, splat- thought. We had that in Brooklyn, too, she
ng hard on the road, covering it quickly remembered, but it came in different forms
with a slippery blanket as she started on – people lending food during the Great De-
her long drive to the regional hospital. Fred


Adelaide Literary Magazine

pression or coming together to listen to the the far end, wai ng for something. Not a
radio news about the war and looking a er dra ee, already in a private’s uniform.
the families that lost someone in ba le.
“Excuse me, miss,” he said quietly.
Here, it was physical. A person could die
in these mountains in a blizzard, and so you She looked up, surprised because he
stopped for anyone on the road who need- had sat so long without speaking.
ed help.
“Could yah tell me how to get to Pennsyl-
A good, solid life. Fred had seen to that. vania Sta on?”
But mostly life passed her by – no great
passion, late marriage, no children, no “Yes, of course. How soon you need to be
grandchildren. there?”

She pulled herself together. She had pas- “In three days.”
sengers. Two men, OK, so she would have to
be the conversa on starter. But they were She giggled slightly, then s fled it so as
almost to the factory gate. She let it go, not to offend him. “It takes about 15 min-
dropping them off and wishing them well. utes by the IRT subway.”

Maria had le so early, because of the “Thanks.”
snow, that she arrived ahead of schedule at
the hospital parking lot. She sat in the cab “You must be from out of town.”
a moment and thought about how nursing
had brought her to a life in the north woods. “Yes, miss.”

*** “Whereabouts?”

The Army needed medical staff in 1942. “Ne’ Hampshire.”
Maria stepped up. She worked at the en-
listment center, where the Army registered She had never been farther than the
and inspected the men it had dra ed. A street cars and subways could take her. “Do
huge hall in Manha an full of men in their you have mountains?”
undershorts. All day, day a er day, she
took their temperatures, measured their “All around,” he said.
height and weight, charted their sta s cs,
did her part in the war effort. Some were a She looked up at the tall buildings that
li le scared, others joked around as if they encircled them. “I would love to see moun-
were not. Some came in groups of brothers tains someday.” The bells of a nearby church
or friends, some came alone. They walked rang one o’clock. “Excuse me,” she said,
through the process, thousands of them, quickly wrapping her unfinished sandwich.
and le . “I have to go back to work.”

One day, she took a brief break on a “May I wait for you?”
bench near the enlistment center to eat a
sandwich her mother had wrapped in wax The ques on startled her. She was sur-
paper for her. A young man asked if he rounded by young men every day, but none
could sit on the bench. Very polite. Sat at of them asked to see her, though a few
made off-color sugges ons as they stood in
their undershorts. Here was a nice young
man interested in her, specifically.

“Yes,” she said, though she didn’t think to
tell him what me. She was sure he didn’t
mean it.


Revista Literária Adelaide

She worked un l four thirty. On her way She told him where to get the subway.
out, she glanced across the street to the He said he had no money; he planned to
bench and was surprised to see him there, walk. She told him the route.
whoever he was. Surprised to have a man
pay a en on to her. She walked over and “Thank you, Miss Car Lucky.” He paused,
said ‘hello.’ standing very close. She moved closer.

“Good a ernoon.” He stood up to greet her, “Marry me,” he whispered. She kissed
glancing at her name tag. “Miss Car Lucky.” him and then turned away. It was over, her
last chance at a life.
She laughed with delight.
Weeks later, there was mail for her. It
“Well, how do you say your name?” was as close as a taciturn Yankee man could
get to a love le er. He asked her to come
“Car-LOO-chee.” to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to marry
him. But he wanted first for her to know
“What sort of name is that?” the truth: that he was divorced. Not by
choice. He had come home early one day
“Italian.” and found his wife in bed with another man,
and she had demanded a divorce. The oth-
“You’re from Italy?” er man pulled some strings to get it. But the
judge s ll ruled that Fred had to pay alimo-
“No. My father is.” ny and child support for their two children.

“We don’t have I-talians where I come So there it was, the offer, and its flaws,
from,” he apologized. but an offer, for the first me.

She laughed again. “Do you mind telling Maria read it so many mes that she
me your name?” thought the paper would wear through.
She weighed the choices and decided on
“Fred,” he snapped to. “Fred Stephens, life. She saved her wages.
“You are not taking the train to North Car-
“Is that the way they do it in New Hamp- olina to marry a man you’ve known for three
shire – two first names?” days,” her mother declared. “Tell her, Angelo.”

“Good to have a spare,” he smiled. Her father just gestured – two hands,
palms down, moving apart – it’s finished.
They walked around the park, talked
about the city and the countryside. She “A man who would leave one wife will
knew it would be short lived. He would be leave another,” her mother warned.
sent somewhere for training soon. But they
talked on. “Un peccato mortale,” her father declared,
without specifying whether the sin was mar-
Fred met her for lunch and then a stroll riage or divorce or disobedience.
a er work each of the next two days. On the
third day, he came at the start of her work Maria stared at them, suitcase in hand.
day, with all his gear in a pack on his back. It pained her that her parents were content
to see her as a spinster, although it didn’t
“’Bout me you told me how to get to surprise her.
Pennsylvania Sta on,” he said gently. They
knew they were par ng, without having to
say so.


Adelaide Literary Magazine

She had never defied them, but she did home, was that the man she had known so
have a ques on: “I am nearly thirty years old. briefly? Now he had a permanent limp, the
Do you have another man in mind for me?” least of the changes. The quiet smile was
gone. The heart was heavy and silent.
Her father threw up his hands.
Although she had no idea how they would
Maria said goodbye. make a life together, Maria chose to try. She
did not believe in divorce. She did not want
She bought a cket to travel to North a divorce. She had never been wildly in love
Carolina – by train to Faye eville and then with him, but he was her only chance for a
by bus to Fort Bragg. Her first me outside full life, a family. Imperfect both of them, but
the city, and traveling alone. It took her together.
three days because the passenger train
was o en sidelined so that trains carrying They walked hand-in-hand across the
troops could go ahead. She slept in her Brooklyn Bridge and all the way to Carroll
seat; she worried that she would look awful Gardens, slowly because of his leg, mostly
by the me she reached him. in silence, as if the city itself could span the
gaps between them.
Fred was wai ng for her at the bus
stop. Quietly, he thanked her for coming. The mee ng with her parents was awk-
He reached out his hand, as if uncertain ward. Maria remembered their warnings
that she would accept him. She took it and about marrying a divorced man. She trust-
smiled up into his face. ed him, but she saw that her parents never
The Catholic priest on the base refused
to marry them. The Protestant chaplain Her sisters, married with children, flut-
agreed, but Maria felt that was wrong. Fred tered around Fred. But they were thinking
found a jus ce of the peace and then a ho- of their own husbands, due back any day.
tel room. They used a condom; he said he
didn’t want to leave her pregnant, in case At night, when a car backfired in the
he didn’t return. street, Fred woke suddenly and dragged Ma-
ria under the bed, believing they were under
Fred explained that he was in a new kind bombardment.
of unit, training to parachute behind enemy
lines. He would ship out with the 82nd Air- Fred joined his unit in the victory pa-
borne. She was sure she would never see rade. Maria and her sisters cheered him
him again. She returned to Brooklyn alone. along. Maria and Fred le the next day
on the train to Gorham, New Hampshire.
In a brief le er the next spring, Fred told She doubted she would ever come back to
her his unit had invaded Italy, where her fa- Brooklyn and turned her mind to making a
ther was born. Later, another le er telling new life in the mountains.
her he was wounded behind German lines
on the night before D-Day but was ge ng ***
be er and soon would be back in the fight.
Maria drove through the slush, straight to
When Fred’s unit sailed to New York the general store and service sta on under
aboard the RMS Queen Mary in January the hand-painted sign “STEPHENS GARAGE.”
1946, Maria didn’t tell her family. She went She knew Fred would need the truck to re-
alone to meet him. The man who came


Revista Literária Adelaide

stock the store the next day. Bad weather That first summer, he introduced her to
meant more customers for milk and other the mountains. She stumbled over stones
essen als they didn’t want to drive eight and tree roots as they followed a path
miles into Gorham to get. named for his ancestors through maples
and birches and pines. When they reached
She hopped down from the cab, s ll in a brook bedecked with a series of water-
her uniform, and walked into the store. The falls, he helped her climb down the boul-
door slammed behind her. The worn floor- ders into the streambed.
boards creaked as she called out to Fred.
But only his dog, a shaggy old mu named Another day, he took her to swim near
Betsy, came to greet her. She heard banging an inn filled with city people who could af-
in the garage and went to look for her hus- ford to summer in the cool mountain air. The
band there. “pool” turned out to be a pond cold as ice
water, nothing like the beach at Coney Island
“Underneath,” he said. Lying on his back where her father had taught his girls to swim.
on a set of wheels, he rolled out from under Fred dived under; Maria edged in slowly, and
the car that had been stuck in the snow ear- hurried out, though she admi ed that the
lier in the day. “Nearly done. Rob helped.” cold water killed the itch of insect bites.
He rolled back under.
He dug up part of the yard so that she
Maria was glad to hear that Fred’s neph- could plant zucchini, garlic, peppers, egg-
ew was learning the trade. Fred’s own son plant – things hard to find in local groceries.
was absent from his life. Fred could use a
hand as he got older, she thought, and One cloudless, moonless night, he
someone should take over the business. He turned off all the lights in the house and
had the easy commute, but that was about coaxed Maria out into the darkness, picking
the only thing in life that ever had been her way across the yard. “Look up,” he said.
easy for him, that and his skill as a mechanic. She saw the sky filled with more stars than
she ever could have seen in the city.
She stood looking at his work boots as
they stuck out from under the car. “Makes you feel small,” he whispered.

Life with Fred was a li le lonely, she He seemed to need that, she thought.
thought, but not as solitary as when she
first moved up here. Back then, whenever She had not expected more, not expect-
he had me off from working for his father ed anything except, eventually, a family. In-
at the garage, he laced up his boots and stead, she had two miscarriages, and Fred
went hiking. Didn’t ma er whether there had said maybe that was just as well, since
was snow or mud, wind or rain. People in what he earned went to alimony and child
town found it strange; only summer visitors support. They had li le money, usually just
would hike without hun ng. Maria didn’t enough, but no extra for her to travel to her
know where he went, though she studied father’s funeral. A li le lonely, both of them.
the map posted in the store showing routes But a life of kindness, affec on, loyalty.
up Mounts Washington, Madison, Adams
and Jefferson. She didn’t know how he ***
managed to hike, but slowly it seemed to
heal his soul, if not his injured leg. The January snow piled up against the win-
dows of Janet’s bedroom, a cocoon swallow-


Adelaide Literary Magazine

ing her as she faded quickly. Maria tuned the would never have no ced a plain girl like
radio to her friend’s favorite channel, play- her. She kept her feelings hidden, or rather,
ing all the hits of their youth. She held Jan- poured them into her friendship with Janet.
et’s hand as they listened together. Once her
friend dozed off, Maria got up and cleaned “You and Janet, what a beau ful pair,” she
the house, made supper for Ray. said. “Janet showed me where to get real
winter boots.”
Janet was asleep when Ray came home.
He went in to see her, but retreated back “And I took you on your first toboggan ride.”
to the sofa, listening to the music, his hand
cupped over his mouth as if to shut down “And she showed me how to cook New
words that should not be spoken. England-style, like Fred was used to.” She
steered back to Janet, not wan ng to in -
“Your supper’s in the oven, when you’re mate her a rac on to Ray.
ready,” Maria told him as she slid one arm
into her heavy winter coat. “A er you had us over for spaghe and
meatballs – which we never saw before.”
“Stay a minute?” he asked.
“But you eat it now.”
She nodded and sat in an armchair, wait-
ing in case he wanted to talk. “Only if you make it.”

A er a long pause, he said, “We used This was ge ng personal. Maria was
to do everything together – you and Fred, afraid. She found a reason to head home, and
Janet and me.” reminded him that his dinner – shepherd’s
pie, not pasta – was wai ng in the oven.
Maria nodded.
She le thinking forbidden thoughts –
“I remember when you first came here,” that Ray had always excited her heart in a
he con nued. “Janet and I gave a party to way that Fred never had done.
welcome you.”
She stopped to recall wading through the
snow in high heels that she wore in order to Maria lay awake that night, as Fred snored
make a good impression but that instead la- so ly beside her. It was true that she had
beled her a city slicker. She s ll didn’t feel always been a racted to Ray, that she had
right wearing slacks instead of dresses, but never felt at home here in the north woods,
she had made that concession to the cold. except at Janet and Ray’s house. Partly it
was the tumult of their children and, even-
Maria remembered the contrast be- tually, their grandchildren, that made their
tween silent Fred and Ray, the life of any home seem more like the one she had
party, both back from combat. Neither man grown up in – filled with rela ves, constant
ever talked about that experience, but Ray cha er, the occasional argument, the big
had been ready to celebrate surviving. Ma- family feasts.
ria was entranced with him from the start,
but kept it to herself all these years. It was But it was also that she was s ll seen as
not just loyalty to Fred, though that ran exo c here. Only one Italian family in the
deep; it was also that a man as outgoing area; they ran a pizzeria – good food to her,
as Ray, and with a beau ful blonde wife, but considered foreign among the descen-
dants of Bri sh immigrants and French Ca-


Revista Literária Adelaide

nadians. Maria never tried to get to know sions on which Janet had worn them. Ma-
that family, in part because she shunned ria asked about his grandchildren, said she
the Roman Catholic Church that disap- missed seeing them.
proved of her marriage.
“I miss seeing you,” he replied.
Fred’s parents had treated her like a
foreigner. Not unkind, just not family. They She looked at him to gauge how he
wouldn’t come to dinner if she served meant that. “Come for dinner any me,” she
something Italian, though Fred grew to like said, gesturing with both hands. “I’ll make
her cooking. She had to make the pasta and you spaghe and meatballs.”
the tomato sauce from scratch because
they were not available at the local grocers. Ray asked whether she was able to say
She told Fred that his parents could call her anything at all without using her hands.
Mary, like her Irish mother did. He said he
liked her just as she was and that his family She was surprised by the teasing.
should, too. But they never did.
“Let’s test,” he said, pu ng his hands on
Ray and Janet, though, had taken them top of hers on the bed.
in, so ening the pain that Fred lived with
daily and the loneliness that trailed Maria. Startled, she tried to pull her hands
away. He grabbed them. She tugged.
“See,” he said in triumph. “Without your
Maria stopped going to the house a er Jan- hands, you’re silent.” He released his grip.
et died. Ray had his children and grandchil-
dren all around him. Be er not to bring her She laughed. Their eyes met. The con-
secret affec ons into their home. nec on thrilled and frightened her. She felt
it must be only on her side, just Ray feeling
The urn with Janet’s ashes sat on the lonely. She turned away.
wide plank above the fieldstone fireplace.
When the ground thawed enough to bury They went back to sor ng clothes. The
Janet’s ashes, Maria and Fred a ended the radio played Big Band songs from the for-
graveside ceremony behind the stark white
Presbyterian church. They did not see Ray es – Doris Day singing “Sen mental Jour-
for weeks a er that. ney,” Perry Como with “Till the End of Time.”
Ray swayed to the tunes. Maria folded the
Then Ray called Maria one day to ask if clothes to be given away and placed them
she would come over and help him decide in a box.
what to do with Janet’s clothes. She agreed.
He had the radio tuned to Janet’s favorite Harry James and his Orchestra came on,
sta on as they worked, sor ng through the with Ki y Kallen singing “It’s Been a Long,
items that none of his daughters or grand- Long Time.”
daughters had chosen to keep – sweaters
and wool skirts, boots and coats, the occa- Ray reached for Maria’s hand. “Let’s
sional summer dress. dance,” he offered.

They worked quietly for a while, hold- She hesitated.
ing up a few items to remember the occa-
“You remember this,” he encouraged her.
“It’s what was playing the first me we met.
You in that royal blue dress. How could I


Adelaide Literary Magazine

He remembered that? Yes, she had worn The song ended. She felt the strength of
a blue dress, the best dress she owned. But his hand on her back, pressing her against
why would he remember that? She leaned him. A surge of desire coursed through her,
back to look at him anew. Keeping his eyes made me stop. So much of life had passed
locked on hers, he took her right hand in his her by, and yet here, late, forbidden, was
le , slipped his right hand behind her back. passion.
She followed s ffly, excited, alarmed.
Never to be acted upon.
He danced so well, singing along, “Kiss me
once, then kiss me twice...” She said she had to go. He held her as
long as he could.
This was not right, Maria knew, but it felt
good, be er than she could have dreamed. Maria’s heart pounded as she drove
Not right – a double betrayal. So right – a home. She resolved never again to be
breath of life in a life that had been s fled alone with Ray. This is enough; this has to
from the start. be enough, she told herself. She had tasted
passion. Indelible.

About the Author

Barbara Borst teaches at New York University in the Journalism Ins tute and in the master’s program
at the Center for Global Affairs, where she leads study groups to Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania and
Uganda. Previously, she was an editor on the interna onal desk at The Associ-ated Press and frequently
reported from the United Na ons. While based abroad for a doz-en years, in Nairobi, Johannesburg,
Paris and Toronto, she wrote for Newsday, The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, The Los An-
geles Times, Inter Press Service news agency, and others. Her recent work appears on her website,, as well as on The Huffington Post.



by Aldo Sesia

I had not thought of Ta ana in years. That ed in an era when an acous c guitar held
is, not un l I saw the billboard above the ex- li le currency with the young. I played
pressway on that gray and s cky day. When the coffeehouse circuit where grateful old
she le , I had eventually pushed her out of hippies-some who s ll said “groovy” com-
my consciousness with the force of a thou- prised the audience. But the gigs were few
sand raging bulls. The alterna ve, remem- and far between and the pay was weak as
bering everything about her from the lico- tea; so a er three years I got, as they say, a
rice smell of her hair or the honey taste of real job as a market analyst at the large mu-
her mouth, and then recalling it for days into tual fund company in the city. My parents
weeks into months into years, had, at the were ecsta c and celebrated by having the
windows in their house replaced. “Vinyl,”
me, nearly devoured me. Stuck in crawling my dad said, “no maintenance!”
traffic on that day, I had ample me to take
her in again. Her face, except for its huge bill- That Ta ana made it to the big stage,
board size, was just as I had remembered it: and I had not, seemed completely reason-
eyes a gospel blue, a carnival of alleluias. Yes, able to me. I had li le interest in forging
when Ta ana looked at you—really looked at new aesthe cs; no, I had intended to sin-
you—you felt the pull of an undertow taking gle-handedly preserve and promote, keep
you leagues into her soul. Her hair, s ll cut alive as it were, the music of my heroes, the
short, was a lighter shade of brune e then folk legends who were being vanquished by
I had remembered it to be. But that was a the scene. When the music world turned
small point. And the scar that ran along her electric, Ta ana went with it. She also was
chin, the scar that I loved to trace with my immensely more talented than me, a first-
fingers while lying next to her, was gone. rate guitarist with a killer voice. (That she
had a pouty waif-like yet bosomy appear-
When she le me, over twenty-odd ance had not hurt either.) When Ta ana
years ago, I stopped reading the newspa- sang the lyrics fell on you like dustbowl rain.
per for concerts coming to town. It was
not that I lost my interest in music, precise- So there she was again a er all these
ly the opposite. I knocked on the door of years looking down at me on that day with
music with my beleaguered heart in tow a twenty-foot wide smile. That my company
and threw myself across the dreary thresh- was promo ng her concert two weeks from
old. I played any gig, anywhere, any me. I then at the Harbor Pavilion—a marke ng
had as much success as could be expect-


Adelaide Literary Magazine

scheme coupling the company’s top fund tunity. One day, I came upon her playing
managers with popular singers under a na- her nicked-up Gibson, taken with her ach-
scent adver sing campaign called “Talent ing voice and slightly nauseated by the pun-
Knows Talent”—carried, as you can imagine, gent smell of homeless urine. Ta ana was
a wallop of irony. Next to her on the billboard singing one of her own composi ons about
was the face of Sherman Nixon, hair slicked Lenin and the purges with such hear elt ag-
back ght as if her were caught in a wind ony, as if she herself had survived the Gulag,
tunnel. The company’s next rising star, a guy that I immediately fell in love, and hence-
whose picture already appeared on the cov- forth could be seen scurrying the subway
ers of Business Week and Fortune. The type system, like a famished rodent, looking for
of guy Ta ana despised—or had used to. her. And look I did. For five whole months.
Un l one night I was sure I had spo ed her.
For the next hour the traffic had inched
ahead. A tandem trailer truck to ng fruit It was snowing and the wind swirled the
had overturned a mile up the expressway. snowflakes’ flight, and a hush had fallen
Tangerines and melons had rolled by the over the square. The few cars that were out,
sta c automobiles. I had tried to avert my moved slowly through the slippery streets.
eyes away from the billboard, to anything The clear holiday lights strung high across
else—the grand hotels poised on the pier, the streets swayed and danced. There were
the yellow construc on cranes below the rela vely few people about, partly because
expressway, the one-legged sea gull float- of the weather, but also because class-
ing effortlessly over the water in air heavy es had ended several days before for the
with the scent of salt—something blue and Christmas break and many students had
shiny dangling from its beak. I had refused returned home. I tled my head to deflect
to look to the wharf where the white tents the bi ng snow. The snow had reached an-
of the music pavilion surely were buckling kle height. The ps of my fingers turned a
and snapping from the increasingly strong prickly numbness.
ocean wind (thunderstorms were forecast-
ed). I opened my door, stuck out my foot, As I approached the center of the square,
and stopped one of the rolling tangerines. I out of the corner of my eye I saw Ta ana—I
grabbed it, closed the car door, and peeled was sure of it. I opened my mouth to call
back its skin—releasing a luscious spray out to her when an orange truck with an
of juice, which turned my fingers s cky. I angled snowplow rumbled and scrapped its
counted the number of dimples on one way by, throwing snow at my feet. A er the
of the peels. I studied my eyebrows in the truck had passed, I looked up but Ta ana
rear-view mirror. Despite these efforts, my had vanished. I rushed across the snowy
eyes found their thirsty way back to Ta ana. street in the direc on that she had head-
ed. My heart pounded in my chest and the
Ta ana and I met when we were both coldness seemed to dissipate. I was a bea-
twenty and a ending nearby colleges. I con of heat and fever. I was iron forged. I
was majoring in business administra on, to reached a four-way intersec on and looked
appease my parents, while Ta ana studied in all direc ons, but Ta ana was not to be
Russian history. Our passion, though, was seen. “No!” I cried out, and fell to my knees.
our music and we played for loose change Hurriedly, I li ed my wet knees off the
on dra y subway pla orms at every oppor- snow covered sidewalk and entered shop


Revista Literária Adelaide

a er shop in search of her, but to no avail. She turned. Her eyes were on fire.
Ta ana was gone.
I backed off.
Dejected, I ques oned myself. Perhaps it
was an illusion? Maybe the snow and the hol- “Do you know how many people were
iday lights conspired to trick me in the name killed under Lenin?” She tossed at me.
of magic or romance. A er all I was vulnera-
ble; it had been a grueling week of exams. I “Ah, twenty eight million,” I threw out.
sat in a smoky café staring out the spo ed
window, my finger ps, which had turned cold She smiled.
again, warming around the cup of java. The
Stones, I Can’t Get No Sa sfac on, played “Do you know how many ignorant Amer-
over the loud speakers. Several couples seat- icans don’t know this? She asked.
ed at tables behind me talked and laughed.
The snowfall intensified and the world was “Twenty eight million?”
white and growing smaller and smaller and I
felt captured in a hideous dream. She laughed.

Do you know how many people were “You were in the restaurant all night,” she
killed under Lenin? I guessed. Some mes said.
that is all it takes—a good guess. She asked
me this ques on when I finally found her I nodded.
again. By then the winter had broken and
birds had returned to the square. I had “Do you want to get a coffee at 1369?”
by this me all but given up on ever see-
ing her again. But I walked into the Wurst- “Sure,” I said.
hause, the famous German restaurant in
the square, and there she was dressed in She made love when it rained hard as if
a billowy and low cut white blouse and she herself were awai ng a morning execu-
pleated skirt—a true Fräulein—serving up
snitzel and sauerkraut to the customers. I on and had to wrap the rest of her life in
asked for a table where I could watch her the small hours before dawn. She gave her
every move and from 8 o’clock to closing naked self abundantly, perhaps recklessly,
I drank pints of high-octane German beer seeking some holy alliance between life
in ceramic stouts and ordered plates of this and death. I could have been anyone I real-
and that, barely touching any of it, steeling ized a er a me, but s ll she chose me (for
myself to say something-anything-to her that small frac on of her life) and gave me
when her shi ended. unlimited access. Some mes I was over-
whelmed, some mes even frightened by
At about midnight, she came out of the Ta ana’s sexual intensity. Yet, I o en found
backroom, carrying her bag, and spraying myself in the university’s chapel kneeling
goodbyes to her co-workers. I took one last for a low-front to move in.
(and large) gulp of beer and followed her
out of the building. We were a couple for less than six
months. In the last few months she be-
“Fräulein,” I said. came more distant, day by day. I knew she
was leaving me (but denied it, as we all do).
Like a depar ng ship, she quietly dri ed
from port. And at first I hardly no ced. If
you watch a ship sailing away it does not
appear to move. But if you close your eyes
and open them five minutes later you can


Adelaide Literary Magazine

tell the ship has, indeed, moved. I pleaded rare over the years) we could recreate frag-
with her, tearfully, not to leave. I swam fail- ments of the early desire we had for each
ingly to that depar ng ship of love un l my other’s body. I never played guitar now
arms red and I slowly sank to the ocean’s (clip) and I could not recall (clip) if the old
floor—all the while seeing the red steel hull six-string was stored in the a c or cellar of
moving further and further away un l ev- our two story suburban (clip) colonial or at
erything turned bi er and white. my parent’s house on the Cape. Clip.

Ta ana had lled my heart like a field “Hey, what are you doing up there?” my
and then le it to fallow. wife shouted later in the evening,

Finally the traffic broke and res flat- “Just looking for something,” I yelled
tened the fruit. I headed home to the North from the a c.
“How was your day?” my wife asked.
“Okay,” I said.
We kissed quickly like we had done a
thousand mes in our 18-year marriage. “I said I AM LOOKING FOR SOMETHING.”

“Are you okay? You look funny,” she said. “I heard you. WHAT are you looking for?”
she asked.
Nothing, I said to myself.
“Yea, different. Like you’ve seen a ghost,”
she said. “Well, you don’t have to be a prick about
it,” I heard my wife say.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I said. “What me
is dinner?” S ll later that night.

“The same me it is every night,” she re- “Hey Pop.”
plied. “Lamb chops, okay?”
“Hi Son,” my father said. “How is Lisa? The
“Sure. I think I’ll do a li le bit of the kids?”
hedge trimming before we eat,” I said.
“Everyone’s doing well. How’s mom.”
I changed into my khaki shorts and put
on a tee shirt. In the garage, next to the “Well, her gout is ac ng up again.”
kid’s bikes, I found the hedge clippers.
“How are you doing?” I asked.
I loved my wife and though my eyes had
strayed over the years I had never betrayed “You know good days, bad days. What
her. We had our ups and downs like all mar- are you going to do?” My father said.
ried couples, but were bound to one an-
other. We had two boys and a girl between “You remembering your medicine every-
the ages of five and thirteen. Though the day,” I asked. “Listen…”
passion had long been on auto-pilot, on
occasion (when we put our two minds to “What else can I do? I’m on the phone.”
it, which admi edly had grown increasingly
“Right. I am looking for my old guitar. Do
you have it there?”

“Why would I have your gee-tar?”


Revista Literária Adelaide

“I don’t know Pop. I can’t find it here, so I bar. My children slept soundly, each tucked
thought it might be at your place.” in their own lovely room. I had never played
guitar for them that I could recall; and for
“You going to start playing again? Give up all I knew they may not have known that
the job, hit the road?” My father chuckled. I once played the instrument and sang for
“Maybe you can take your mother with you. money. I realized looking in on the young-
Give me some peace of mind. As far as the est, Lila, the moon pouring in through the
gee-tar it’s not here as far as I know, but I’ll opened window, a wind ngling the gos-
look around tomorrow. When are you go- samer curtains, that if they did know they
ing to bring the kids down to see us? We’re would not have slept any sounder.
not going to be here forever, you know.”
The next day at work, people were
A er the call, I crawled into bed. My talking about the billboard and the upcom-
wife slept. Her bifocals teetered on the ing concert. I had never men oned to any-
bridge of her nose, white moisturizer gave one that I knew Ta ana once, let alone that
her face a ghoulish shine, a Patricia Corn- I had been her lover. They never would have
well hardcover rested on the blanket which believed me.
covered her breasts, rising and falling as
she breathed. I stared at my wife for awhile. ***
I removed her eyeglasses, successfully not
waking her, though I wished in part that she “Are you going to the concert?” Clara, my as-
had opened her eyes because there was sistant, asked. “The company has a few hun-
something I think I needed to say to her, dred ckets but its first-come first- serve.”
though I didn’t know what it was, but I was
confident that her eyes would have told me “I hadn’t thought about it,” I said.
what it was I needed to tell her. I li ed the
hardcover and placed it on the nightstand “I just love her,” she said.
on my wife’s side of the bed and I turned
off the light. “You do?”

But I could not sleep. The billboard and “She’s so cool and really hip for her age,”
Ta ana’s face were all I could see when I Clara said.
closed my eyes. I looked in on the children.
I wondered if Ta ana had any kids. She had “For her age…” I poked.
been married once to a chiseled television
actor I had remembered reading in People Clara blushed. She was twenty four and
magazine a decade ago in an airport termi- at mes I would catch myself starring at her.
nal awai ng a business flight to the West
Coast. I carried the magazine with me on “I mean she’s s ll relevant in her for es,”
the five-day trip in and around Sacramento Clara explained.
un l the last night when I took it to the ho-
tel bar and a er drinking a few beers I took In truth, I was torn. Part of me want-
one last look at the ar cle and photo of Ta- ed to go to the concert and another part
did not. And as the days passed and the
ana and her husband smooching on a Ca- concert neared my convic ons changed.
ribbean beach. I paid my tab and returned One hour I was definitely going to go and
to my room leaving the magazine on the the next hour I was definitely not going. I
needed a sign, some divine signal to tell me
what to do. I thought about taking the Red
Line back to the square where Ta ana and


Adelaide Literary Magazine

I had met, hung around in, and played mu- a near-death out of body experience: for I
sic for pedestrians in front of the COOP that was floa ng above the scene looking down
spring and early summer when we were on myself. I saw a man in the early stages
together, and where I had not been since of middle age with a receding hairline and
ge ng married. Surely there it would come second mortgage worried about impending
to me what to do. I decided that if my gui- college tui ons and underperforming 401K
tar turned up (s ll no word from the Cape, plans who just hours ago had go en an un-
and maybe I should check the basement expected (and he was supremely grateful)
one more me) then I just had to go to the fella o from his wife standing surrounded
concert and if it did not well… If it rained by an army of tangerines at his feet wear-
more days than it did not leading up to the ing a somewhat bewildered look. And what
concert date then of course I would go. was it with tangerines? Jesus.

The day before the concert was a Satur- When I returned home, Lisa was up and
day. I woke my normal me, 6am, fed the si ng at the kitchen table.
dog and let her out. I had breakfast before
any one s rred and le for the supermarket “Back safely I see,” she said.
to do the grocery shopping as was my habit.
I had not gone back to the square or called “Barely,” I replied and explained the tan-
my parents on the Cape or searched the gerine incident.
basement again for the guitar and though
I had been aware of the weather each day “Coffee?” she asked holding the pot.
I had not kept score of rainy days versus
non-rainy days. The night before, Lisa had “Why not,” I said.
emerged from the master bathroom.
“Did you enjoy last night?” she asked.
“I want you,” she said.
“Right,” I chuckled, without looking up
from the Globe’s sports sec on. “Are you going tomorrow?” she asked.

When she did not reply, I looked up. She “Going where?”
stood there in black pan es sans a top, her
breasts exposed—those breasts which had “To Ta ana’s concert.”
suckled my children—not as firm and at-
ten ve as they once had been but firm and We had not spoken about the concert
a en ve nonetheless. and I had thought that she knew nothing
about it—there were, a er all, no billboards
In the supermarket I took one tanger- with Ta ana’s picture in our town or in
ine from an impeccable pyramid of tanger- neighboring towns as far as I knew. And my
ines, and when I did, the pyramid collapsed, wife was not one to read the arts and enter-
sending the balls of fruit rolling to the floor tainment sec ons of the paper. I started to
and running off in all direc ons un l not a ask her how she found out about the con-
single tangerine remained on display. Over cert but quickly realized it did not ma er.
the loud speaker a teenager’s serious voice
said: “Clean up in produce.” And in that “I haven’t decided,” I said. “Would it both-
moment, I had what I can only describe as er you if I did go?”

“No, of course not. Go if you want to.”

“Would you want to go? I can always get
another cket. I just need to call the office.”


Revista Literária Adelaide

“So you already have one cket?” she “Yes, I just was…”
“Come on. No more delays,” she said and
“Ah, yes.” then opened the car door. Clara grabbed
my arm.
“Some mes you’re so pathe c,” she said.
“Excuse me. I’ve got children to raise.” “Okay. Okay,” I said.

*** And the three of us walked to the pavil-
ion, Clara in the middle between myself and
It was hot and humid the night of the con- Aaron. Once through the gates, the crowd
cert and the breeze from the ocean provid- pushed us apart and we separated and I
ed welcome relief as the sun began to set. I headed to the beer tent. The opening act
sat in my Saab in the Pavilion’s parking lot had just finished its set and the crowd was
while the warm-up act performed its set. I applauding. Clara and Aaron walked down
was parked too far from the stage to make the right center isle looking for their seats,
out the singer’s lyrics but the bass pulsed which, like mine, I knew were close to the
through the heavy salt-laden air with ease. stage. As I sipped the beer, the roadies pre-
My toe tapped the brake petal to the beat pared the stage for Ta ana and her band,
of the music. I leaned back in the seat and tuned the instruments, did sound checks
closed my eyes. Between my legs, a cold on the mikes. TEST 1-2-3. TEST 1-2-3. The
bo le of Coors sweated. I s ll wasn’t sure city’s lights emerged in the darkening sky
I wanted to see Ta ana a er all of these and thirty miles north my family was living
years; I didn’t know what doing so would out this Sunday night. My cell phone rang.
unearth. With my eyes closed, I drank from
the bo le un l it was dry. “Pop, I am kind of busy,” I said.

“Hey!” “What’s all the noise? What are you hav-
ing a party?” my father asked.
It was Clara. She was wearing shorts
and a halter top. Her hair was ed up and “Just a few people over for a barbecue,”
pinned back revealing delicate ny ears. I replied.
Chained beads rested above her breast-
bone. Her legs were toned and tanned. “Well, I just wanted to give you the news
on your guitar.”
“You made it!”
That my father didn’t pronounce it gee-
“I guess I did,” I said. tar should have warned me that the news
would not be good.
“This is Aaron,” she said. And out of no-
where appeared a lean yet muscular man “What is it?”
approxima ng Clara’s age.
“It seems your mother sold it at the
“Hi,” I said. I reached out my hand. “Nice church yard sale a few years ago,” he said.
to meet you.”
“Jesus, Dad don’t kid,” I said.
His hand engulfed mine and his grip was
stronger. “I’m not, Son.”

“Aren’t you going in?” Clara asked. And I did something I had never done
in my life: I hung up on my old man. The


Adelaide Literary Magazine

phone rang again. I looked at the display The show moved quickly. Song blurred
iden fying the incoming call: Mom & Pop. into song.
With all the might I had I tossed the phone
as far as I could into the ocean. A er the Ta ana drank in the applause. Her eyes
release, a pain shot through my shoulder. scanned the crowd and how I wanted her
to look at me, but she did not. The crowd
The lights overhead under the pavil- quieted. “Ta ana we love you!” someone
ion’s tent flickered indica ng the show was shouted, and the crowd roared again.
about to begin. Clutching and then rub-
bing my shoulder I went to find my seat, “I love you too,” she said.
the stage growing larger and larger with
each step, un l I found myself in the tenth As the show approached the two hour
row, not more than fi y feet from the mi- mark, a roadie came on stage with a guitar
crophone in the center of the stage from and she strapped it on. It was the beat up
where I knew Ta ana would sing. To my Gibson she had toted around and played
right to rows ahead sat Clara and Aaron, when we were together. It s ll had the 60’s
Aaron’s hand rubbing the small of Clara’s peace s cker below the strings on the body
uncovered back. of the instrument that I had put on one
morning a er making love.
“Ladies and Gentleman…Ta ana!” a voice
rang out. The crowd rose to their feet, ap- “Here’s an old song,” she said. She
plauding, and some screaming, some whis- strummed the strings to test its tuning.
tling. I stayed seated so when Ta ana came
out on stage I could not see her. My shoul- Though the lyrics were completely dif-
der throbbed. My stomach churned. I closed ferent, it was same chords and progression
my eyes. of the song she sang about Lenin and the
purges I heard her play the first me I saw
“Thank you Boston!” I heard Ta ana say. her on that subway pla orm.
“Thank you Patriot Investment Company!”
I thought I saw tears in her eyes as she
Her talking voice, though an octave sang, but I could have been mistaken. Had
lower, was as I had remembered it, frail I been punched in the stomach? I could
but with palpable strains of invincibility. I hardly breath and something inside ached.
opened my eyes as the crowd sat and there Clara looked back and gave me a wink. She
she was bigger than life—Ta ana. mouthed, “She’s so cool.” I smiled weakly.
Clara kissed Aaron on the cheek. He turned
She had gained a few pounds relieving and probed her ear with his tongue.
her of the famished look she had personi-
fied so pleasingly (to my eye) in our youth. “There is someone here in the audience,
Yet the new weight seemed to suit her now who I would like to introduce. A very spe-
as if a testament to survival, to persever- cial person to me,” Ta ana announced a er
ance, to mind over ma er, as if to say “I she finished the song and the applause had
survived the Gulag!” Even before Ta ana quieted.
played a note or li ed a lyric to the sky, I
realized that Clara was right—Ta ana was I sat up. My God Ta ana knew I was in
s ll hip and relevant in her for es in a way I the crowd all along and surely that last song
could never have been. was for me! I would have a lot to explain to
my colleagues tomorrow!


Revista Literária Adelaide

“He is someone of profound grace and wearing army boots and stained sweat-
talent. Knowing him has be ered my life, pants he asked, “Spare some change?” I
made it sweeter. I love this man.” had the sensa on that I no longer knew
who I was or what I had been. I did not be-
I prepared to rise and wave to the crowd, long here; the square was no longer mine,
blow Ta ana a kiss. or for that ma er Ta ana’s.

“Ladies and gentleman, my dear friend The stairs down to the Red Line were
from Patriot Investment Company…” as dirty as they had been twenty-odd
years ago. Tokens were a thing of the past,
I stood. I learned, and I stood before a cket ma-
chine confused how to pay for and get a
“Sit down, asshole,” someone yelled from CharlieCard to gain access to the subway
behind. pla orm.

“There you are,” Ta ana said, poin ng to “Dude you need help?” A long-hair teen
the side of the stage. in a ed-dyed tee-shirt asked. “You look
lost, man.”
Sherman Nixon stood waving to the
crowd. Ta ana blew him a kiss. The crowd As I stood helpless as a child, the kid
applauded politely. took my $2 (what happened to 25¢ fares!),
pressed the screen several mes, and out
As she tore into another electric tune, peeled a cket.
I le my seat and walked out of the pavil-
ion, past the enraptured fans and then the I went to the place on the subway plat-
closing beer and food concessions. Her form where I first saw Ta ana. A few people
voice followed me through parking lot and were wai ng for the next train. I sat on a
to my car. Before I turned on the igni on, hard bench and closed my eyes. For a mo-
the singing ended and a guitar riff started. ment I could hear her voice as it was then.
I drove off before the song ended and the
crowd roared once again. “A en on riders. The next train to Ale-
wife is now approaching,” a voice came
Above the expressway, two men stood over the loudspeaker.
on a plank tethered by rope, hanging in
the air, papering the billboard over Ta a- The train arrived. People exited. Others
na’s face. I got off the expressway and took boarded. The pla orm emp ed, except for
Storrow Drive west to the square. Many of me. A large rat scurried along the tracks
the bohemian stores and cafes and eater- below running into the dark tunnel. I want-
ies had been replaced by chains—Dunkin ed to cry for lost love, for things that could
Donuts, Staples, Ci bank. The Wursthause have been, for the deceit of youth, but I
was now a CVS.. could not. So I sat on the bench and waited
for the next train to arrive, not because I
I parked the car and walked around. The would take it, but because I wouldn’t.
square bustled with nightlife, mostly col-
lege-age kids. As I passed an unkempt man


Adelaide Literary Magazine

About the Author

Aldo Sesia Jr. lives in Cambridge MA, near Fresh Pond, with his wife Anastasia, children,
Medhanit and Shiferaw, and their dog Blue. He is a case study writer at a leading graduate
business school.



by Amanda Corbin

It had begun subtly: a renamed Olentangy his hand studied her scalp, but the direc-
here, a Charlo e moved twenty miles ons seemed topsy-turvy like a compass
north there. At first, she faulted her brain
as thought it labeled a rectangle a square. smashed against a re. She peeled the “you
But as she drove and shi ed from town to are here” s cker from the plexiglass and
suburb, the yellowing pages of her road- placed it to her neck.
maps became less consistent, less teth-
ered to the geography she’d memorized. Now, she med herself by pocke ng the
A once clear se ng of states now showed landmarks along her wayward route, try-
Kentucky birthing Utah and North Dako- ing to make sense of her layout. Each atro-
ta kissing South Carolina. She studied the phied shopping center she passed seemed
freeways that gaped at her windshield, new to li her wheels off the ground. Her pens
pathways innerva ng steel to stone with ran dry from the lines she scrawled on each
prenatal reach. Most would be lost but she brochure. Gum wrappers, ssues, and beef
followed the geese who never faltered in jerky li ered her car floor. Eventually, a pier
their migra on. peeked over a railing and signaled her to
When she was a girl, she feared revolv-
ing doors. Her mother would clench her Bi ng a pen, she readied to mark the
wrist and lead her into the blindness of western coast in Topeka. Instead, she glid-
the screeching retail roule e for the sake ed out of the car and towards the shore
of a summer sale. There was a me she and asked the ocean if she was finished
cried hard enough that her mother placed tracking the word around her. Vindica ng
her on a Bloomingdale’s bench. A man waves crawled to her, lapping up the pag-
whose teeth spoke like a haunted piano es she dropped and swallowing the places
ran his fingers through her relaxed, untar- she’d passed. The geese bedded the sand-
nished hair as the mall directory had only bar nearby as the water revolved with itself.
stood and watched. She tried tracing the
paths between stores and restaurants as She already knew that names no longer
had meaning and cast aside her own, with
two fingers pressed into a familiar vein run-
ning along her throat.


Adelaide Literary Magazine

About the Author

Amanda Nicole Corbin is a writer and teacher in Columbus, Ohio, who got her Master’s
Degree from Salt Lake City, Utah. Wri ng is her recovery and her favorite way is with the
light of the winter sun and her cat, Ellie, si ng on her spacebar. She has had her short prose
published in journals such as the Notre Dame Review, Thin Air Magazine, and Thrice Fic on.



by Ruth Deming

What a family we have. Bigger than most. Our parents had given us a love of na-
On Sundays, we’d hop into our Mercury ture. Every Fourth of July, we’d visit Crim-
Sta on Wagon – Dad got it for a bargain – son State Park, alive with ny animals who
so it was pink. It was long and low and we wouldn’t harm you: toads, that clung onto
traveled the country in it. Back then, peo- roots of trees; ny streams that you could
ple didn’t worry much about gas mileage. walk through with your sneakers on, and
The Rothman Family – that’s us - traveled to crows, who made a huge racket.
the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. The kids
jumped around in the back on a ma ress Crows are the smartest of all birds. They
with a plaid sheet on top. remember who you are and teach their
children about you, if you’re good or bad.
We’d sleep whenever we felt like it. Seriously! I did a lot of reading at the Cleve-
land Heights Public Library. Daddy said I
No ma er how old I am, I’d always get had “a thirst for knowledge.”
a crush on someone driving behind us or
next to us. You hush your mouth. Our family was filled with smart people.
Donny Israel was a physicist. He and his wife
At the wheel, Dad smoked incessantly. Elizabeth worked at the State University of
As a young man, he smoked Lucky Strikes. Long Island. What a waste they didn’t have
Unfiltered. One day he could not stop children! Donny grew orchids in their base-
coughing so his doctor told him to switch ment. Daddy and I visited and he took “home
to filtered Kents. movies” of them. Then his wife got some-
thing wrong with her brain and couldn’t
Dad had terrible taste in music, Law- think right. I refuse to write down its name.
rence Welk-type music. So I’m in the back
coughing and ge ng a headache from My brother Lenny had Asperger’s dis-
those awful melodies. ease. Boy was he smart! His specialty was
comic books. Do you know how much
The views as we climbed upward were those books were worth? Nothing. Every-
nothing short of spectacular. Trees a er one thought, Give them a few years and the
trees. They looked like ny bundles of broc- Rothmans will make a fortune. Not to be.
coli. “Live on, you beau ful trees,” I whis- Lenny just stayed in his bedroom vegeta ng.
pered out the window, making a li le con-
densa on mark, like on a glass of lemonade Mother, with her bright red lips ck and
or apple cider. dyed brown shoulder-length hair, would


Adelaide Literary Magazine

unlock his bedroom door and bring him and white dog, a Dalma an, like in the mov-
nourishing food. He refused to eat it and ie A Thousand and One Dalma ans, ran up
got thinner and thinner un l he was simply to Uncle Judge as if he were a favorite cous-
skin and bones. Oh, those big bones poking in coming home, and knocked him down
from his shoulders, like those emaciated onto the ground.
Nazi vic ms. One day Mom walked in and
her boy was dead. Uncle Judge lay on the sidewalk with his
head bloodied.
We had a famous judge in our family.
Oscar Rothman. What a personality he had. I am sniffling now.
He moved in with us in the last years of his
life. Yes, that was the end of Uncle Judge.

He was a riot. He would sit on the piano As you may gather, years and years have
bench backwards – and play simple tunes passed by. By the grace of God or whomev-
like Twinkle Twinkle Li le Star – but he pro- er is in charge around here, I am s ll alive.
nounced it “Tinkle Tinkle” and pretended
he was, well, nkling. You might here me prac cing piano out
the window. I play loudly so people can
We asked him if he believed in “capital hear my Papa Haydn, my Mozart sonatas,
punishment.” the Bach family, and li le tunes I have in-
vented myself like “Here Comes the Rhinoc-
“Of course,” he roared. “How would you eros” and “Hey, Hey, the Witch is Dead.”
like if that murderer and rapist came up to
you, broke down your front door, and had Marriage is not my thing, though I am
his way with you?” in love with several people on my street,
Westchester Road. Marvin Wachsman,
Over me, Uncle Judge star ng behav- Judy Ginsberg, Mary Truby and Mrs. Polster.
ing oddly.
I will have a party in about a month. My
He couldn’t remember things. favorite drink will be there: Coca-Cola in
tall shapely glass bo les, and my favorite
He would go into the refrigerator, pour snacks: Pringles potato chips and tongue
mayonnaise in his hand, and lick it off. sandwiches from the local delicatessen.

Or he’d go into the cupboards and take If at all possible, I’ll try and get some-
out a can of salmon, and then ask Mom- one in bed with me. It’s been quite a while.
my to open it for him. He had forgo en all Mary Truby, I’ll admit, was repulsed, but
about can openers. Marvin Wachsman was delighted.

On our street in Cleveland Heights, he “I never knew anyone,” he remarked,
would pace day and night. We had made a “who painted their toenails blue and their
bracelet for him that said his name – Judge fingernails a matching blue.”
Oscar Rothman – so we believed he was safe.
S ll, I prefer living alone, and reading
Once in the middle of the night, Uncle my cache of books at night, as the stars and
Oscar was out pacing when a huge black constella ons twinkle outside.


Revista Literária Adelaide

About the Author

Ruth Z. Deming is a poet and short story writer who lives in Willow Grove, PA, a suburb of
Philadelphia. Her works have been published in Mad Swirl, Literary Yard, ShortStory,net and
other wri ng venues. She runs New Direc ons, a support group for people with depression,
bipolar disorder and their loved ones. “Yes I Can: My Bipolar Journey” details her triumph over
bipolar disorder. A mental health advocate, she educates the public about this treatable illness.



by Asa Noriega

A er the divorce, Claudia Frank bought one as her mom would put it, to be alone. It
of those overstuffed couches where the pil- seemed such an obvious fate; alone, and
lows sink together like alternate direc ons then alone and dead, with a cat licking her
of a life converging. In the mornings, she’d face, her mom had explained the last me
crumple into the cushions and stare at a they spoke. “But I don’t own a cat,” Claudia
puddle flooding the sidewalk and part of reminded her to which her mom snipped,
the road in front of her house. It was big “It could be anything. A dog, a parrot, a
and showy, a water feature set in the mid- weasel, I saw some lady walking a goat the
dle of the street. She’d studied it over her other day!”
morning coffee. As rainstorms came and
went, it collected water un l it seemed like And so last month, Claudia announced
it might cascade down her driveway and that Tyler, the handsome twenty-five-year-
rush the basement. But it never did. The old trainer who once had untangled her
puddle filled right to the top of the curb from a resistance band at the gym, was
and then had a way of receding, slowly, like living with her. “It’s onward or the insani-
a sly grin. She liked to think the water knew ty ward,” her mom had joked. But Claudia
exactly when to stop – mother nature gen- was already cooling on this direc on, her
uflects! feelings for him ebbing and flowing, not so
different from her puddle, she recognized
Her mom, completely se led in a sec- right away.
ond marriage in Massachuse s, was anx-
ious about Claudia riding divorce’s wake We’ll see where it goes, Claudia thought,
right back to live at home, and so every me gazing out the window. It was her new way
Claudia had called from Sea le, her mom of approaching things. We’ll see where the
took a distant, comedic approach, sending water goes. We’ll see where this rela on-
cards with weird sayings like Bigamy is hav- ship goes. It calmed her to think that she
ing one husband too many. Marriage is the could go with whatever came about, seam-
same. Although, she herself, remarried. lessly adjus ng, like one might hear in an
epitaph of a life well-lived. When she was
These exchanges made it seem to Clau- married, to combat anxiety of making mis-
dia that the only avenue available had to takes, she had approached things with a
be on her own in Sea le. At forty-two, she should do. We should celebrate our anniver-
didn’t want to go through life lonely, or saries. We should buy a house. We should


Revista Literária Adelaide

get a pet as a trial for when we have kids. be even predatory, but she felt less of the
And it all worked well un l a fork pitched a sleek, wily cougar-like quali es of women
different path. her age and more clumsy, inert, like a sink-
hole, with invasive cheatgrass sprou ng
“Good morning,” Said Tyler. He eased from the surface. She had read about one
on the couch and she leaned into his arms. in Florida. A guy had made a sandwich in
“Are you going out today?” He waited, rub- the kitchen when the ground opened, swal-
bing his ma ed down hair. lowing him, like a sacrifice.

“Of course,” she answered, wondering She grabbed a cracker and dialed Hugo’s
when he would leave for his first appointment, number.
“Do you need something while I’m out?”
“It’s Claudia,” she said, monotone.
He shook his head, paused and said
so ly, “Hugo called last night.” “Hi,” Hugo said so ly. “I’m glad you called
“Yeah, well,” she said.
“He wants you to call him back today.”
“Listen, I need to let you know something.
Absolutely, posi vely, not! No, no, no! Liz and I…we’re…we’re having a baby.”
She thought.
“You’re having a baby,” She repeated.
“Why would I do that,” She said. “But you don’t want kids.”

“Are you asking me?” “We weren’t trying,” he said,

“I don’t know,” she sighed.” Did he say “You weren’t,” again she repeated. “But
what it was about?” you don’t want kids.”

“Nope,” said Tyler as he slid his cup on “I thought you should know.”
the table and kissed her cheek. She liked
how he wore thick, pocketed sweats that “Okay,” she said. “I just don’t understand
flowed evenly down his legs, and a zip- how, I mean, obviously I know how but I
pered sweatshirt, oversized, cuddly. thought--“

“I’ll see you tonight,” He said. “It looks “I was the reason.”
like a decent day. If you go to the store, I’d
love something sweet, like you.” “I guess,” she said. An inability to get
pregnant seemed somehow more fi ng for
“Cute.” the one who didn’t want kids. A er months
of treatments Hugo had begged to change
Claudia made her way to the bathroom their course. He described how deer, elk
and examined her face in the mirror. A and even pond turtles will cross highways
thick hair had sprouted from her chin, like searching for food but get run over. Whole
a whisker, so she plucked it. She wondered families are wiped out by a single Volvo.
if Hugo felt anything when he heard Ty- They could raise money to redirect them
ler’s voice answering the phone, realizing he’d suggested. He showed a picture of tur-
that she s ll harbored some sort of feeling tle families – so cute and the moms so at-
and perhaps living with a guy ten years her ten ve!—forming a line along a screen that
younger might make her look silly, may- directed them toward a safer route.


Adelaide Literary Magazine

“Oh, my god. Life sucks!” she blurted. Claudia’s mom as confidante was not
ideal. As a teenager, Claudia would relay
“Claudia, I know how much this hurts— “ some hur ul slight by one of her friends.
Her mother would listen and gulp her gin
“You have no idea!” she yelped. and tonic, ice clinking wildly against the
glass, then threaten to report the girl to the
“But it’s be er if you know now. We parents, the school, the PTA, and anyone
thought, I don’t know. We thought it would who’d listen! When Claudia forbade her,
be be er now that you’ve moved on.” her mom would resort to poin ng out all
the ways each girl was somehow beneath
“Leave me out of your discussions with her. While Claudia found this delivery un-
Liz. We are not friends anymore. She’s not helpful, even a bit scary, it was the con-
my friend!” tent that was addic ve, the immaturity of
blaming someone else, the sa sfac on of
“I know this seems bad right now.” knowing that she had someone fully in her
corner. She longed for a best friend.
And before she knew it, everything
about the last year – its isola on, humili- “You know how I feel about Liz,” her mom
a on, turtles and resistance bands, best launched in. “She’s a copycat. She does ev-
friends --and that fucking affair! -- started erything you do. She always has, only she
to whip up so she jumped into the middle. takes it to the extreme.”
She began to shriek. “I’m hanging up now.
Don’t call me ever again. I don’t want any- “You mean she does it be er.”
thing to do with you two. That’s what di-
vorce means. I don’t have to know anything. “You cut your hair short, she cut hers
I don’t have to do anything. So just get the shorter. I wouldn’t say it looked be er. She
hell out of my life!” She was shocked by the bought the same car as you. She wears
venom and hurt in her voice. She had, a er the exact same sneakers. You rode a bike
all, moved on. She had, a er all, asked Tyler through Italy, then she not only rode a
to move in. She had laughed playing Scrab- bike through Italy, she took Italian cook-
ble in her underwear. She’d even thought ing classes, she made Italian friends, she
things might’ve just worked out for the bet- took Italian lessons, she visited Rome every
ter once when she and Tyler were cooking Goddamn year for a decade. She prac cally
chard and dancing in the kitchen. became Italian, which just shows you how
ridiculous she can get!”
“Sorry,” said Hugo. He sighed long and
hard. “I think,” said Claudia slowly, “she was
trying to find common ground.”
“You know what, Daddy, I don’t think you
are!” “I’ll say! She certainly did that with Hugo,
didn’t she?”
“Serves them right.” Her mom said.
“I guess.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
There was silence, and then her mom
“Oh, I don’t know. Raising kids is hard. asked lightly, “How’s it working out with
Hugo and Liz are just so stuck on themselves,” Taylor?” Claudia could tell that a year of,
she said. Claudia heard her mom’s new dog, more or less, the same conversa ons about
Helga, scamper and drop to the floor cleseby.
“A baby will put them in their place.”


Revista Literária Adelaide

separa on and divorce had taken a toll. Her of its tail. She unlocked the car door and
mom already shi ing the focus. “Maybe he fumbled; her hand a li le ji ery but it land-
wants kids.” ed on the handle and pulled back. “What
am I doing here?” she mumbled, feeling
“Tyler, Mom, his name is Tyler. Besides, flushed. She started the car and drove away.
isn’t it obvious? I’m the one who can’t have Claudia’s hands were on the wheel and she
kids.” let out a long breath, ridding her lungs of
pressure. She outstretched her hands and
“Oh, I know,” she said. “Maybe you can no ced for the first me that her ring fin-
just have fun, then.” ger was shorter than her index but on her
other hand they were the same length. She
“Fun?” curled them loosely back around the wheel,
maneuvering the car through the quiet
“You know what I mean.” streets, the push and pull, ushering her
back to normalcy. Her stubby ring finger
“Not really.” naviga ng home, she thought. That’s what
she and Hugo had become. Stunted but s ll
“Don’t analyze things too much, Helga. capable of turning a wheel.
You conjure all sorts of things, and then”
Claudia drove too fast through the pud-
“Claudia, Mom, you mean, Claudia.” dle, sloshing and se ling on the parking
pad. She turned off the engine and walked
“What did I say?” halfway up the block to get a be er view
of the landscape. She could see how the
“You called me Helga.” fi een-foot-wide basin started in the mid-
dle of the street, and then gradually curv-
“Did I?” she chuckled. ing just underneath her porch. It was oval-
shaped, an egg sliced in half, and her porch
“Yes,” said Claudia, heat building in her was the yolk. There were several cracks in
neck. She sensed her mom had red, the the founda on. The ground so obviously
call laughing to an end and so she wrapped shi ing. Did a stream swell underneath?
it up with a promise to be more open to Or perhaps it was a cave held together by
new possibili es, then grabbed her car keys roots, gravel, and now buckling under the
and went out. She needed to think. She cir- weight of the pavement.
cled the neighborhood, and then she le it,
driving the twenty minutes across town to Inside the house, it was warm and
Hugo and Liz’s house. smelled spicy. Tyler was cooking tomato
sauce. He put down his spoon and hugged
She eased the car alongside the curb. A her. “Did you call Hugo?” He asked.
cat on the porch li ed its head but its body
remained perfectly s ll. It was fluffy and She shook her head, “no, of course not!”
orange but more of a milky, tannish hue She wondered if she was in love with Tyler.
with white patches. Long darker wisps of She thought that she felt love right then,
hair overlay the downy undercoat -- a ki y her fib in the same air as the aroma from
comb-over, she thought lightly, wai ng for his cooking. She held out a box. “I bought
her next move to come to her. organic Twinkies.”

“Hi,” whispered Claudia from inside the
car. What it must be thinking of her? Of
who she is. Of course, it didn’t respond. It
simply stared at her and twitched the end


Adelaide Literary Magazine

“C’mon upstairs,” he said, turning off the “You don’t want to be one of those wom-
burner. en,” he said so ly.

Tyler leaned her onto the bed. Their “What women?”
bodies were symbio c, and coopera ve
as teammates passing and catching. His “The ones who become bi er because of
mouth ready and he kissed her gamely. some supposed unfair treatment.
Her breath was hard and choppy but she
inhaled deeply and made herself relax un l “Really?”
it smoothed into a warm, even tempo. How
could she not love him right there, cradled “There’s this one movie where a woman
in warmth and the s llness of so , white sleeps with a married man and she thinks
sheets. he’s going to leave his wife. But he doesn’t
so she hangs the family cat—”
When she thought Tyler was sleeping,
she ptoed downstairs, ate a few bites of “I thought she boiled the daughter’s bunny.”
Twinkie, and slipped back upstairs into bed.
Tyler lay awake. “Was it a bunny? I didn’t see the movie.”

“I’m feeling weird about you and me,” He “Well, there’s also the one about the wife
said, rolling over. wan ng a divorce,” she said gamely, thank-
ful the conversa on was flowing, “but she
“I know,” she agreed. She sighed and re- and the husband both get too possessive
mained silent. A er a while she asked, “Do about the division of assets and the wife
you think you are going to want kids?” serves his cat for dinner.”

“I think so. I hadn’t thought about it, re- Tyler grimaced. “That’s not the one.”
“It was the rabbit and the affair then,”
Claudia told Tyler she had talked to she said. “What was it called?”
Hugo and she was the one not capable of
having kids. Tyler said he understood her “My point is, the bunny-boiler goes crazy
reac on and that he was happy about the for something that just wasn’t in the cards.”
prospects of no birth control. He became
more assured, like lingering ques ons had “I guess,” said Claudia, but that’s not how
finally been answered for him. she saw it. The woman was deceived and
grew false hope of a life with a man she
“Life is funny like that,” he said. “One loved. And then, of course, there’s the fact
minute you’re fine and then, Bam, you that a young, promising woman’s life comes
get a curve ball!” He fisted the air for dra- to a brutal end, drowned in a bathtub. Much
ma c effect. “You go a keep on movin’ on, like the bunny, this woman seemed tragic.
“Well, there’s bad mes and then good
“Where am I moving to?” mes,” he said, “Carpe Diem.”

“I mean, you can’t let it get you down.” Tyler tucked into her and tried to cradle
her in his arms, to keep her with him. She
“Or, fight for the right—” She was joking slid closer but her mind had floated over
but it came across harsh and unexpected, a puddle where the water glistened, she
hal ng the momentum of their banter. drowned in water, just like the rabbit, she
thought, sensing the coolness of feet sink-


Revista Literária Adelaide

ing into mud, squishing through as she sub- and you’re forced to explain why your cher-
merged into the liquid comfort of sleep. ry tree appears to be coming out of a dead
rabbit. Claudia said flatly, “I’ll think about it.”
In the morning, a er Tyler le , she called
her mother. “I stalked Hugo yesterday” she In the middle of that night, she awoke
announced. “I’m a stalker.” to what seemed like an earthquake, but
it was the clank of a truck rumbling down
“Always so quick to judge,” her mom said. the street, hi ng the dip. The bedroom
“You’re just going through a rough patch. door jiggled, and the windows vibrated. Ty-
It’s not like you are peering in windows or ler’s breathing was steady and even. She
making obscene phone calls.” slipped into a sweatshirt, heavy socks and
slippers with a rubber sole. She wrapped a
“Of course not!” crocheted blanket around her, an old lady’s
cape. It was ta ered and pilled, like an annu-
“What you have, honey, is too much me lus with markings of a tough year. She went
on your hands,” Her mother said. “Maybe outside, sliding a lawn chair to the puddle’s
you should become an ar st—a painter. edge. The air was moist. A breeze rippled
Create something.” the water. Across the way, each cra sman
silhoue ed as family portraits against the
“That sounds like a bumper s cker. Besides, blue of the night sky. She needed to drive.
people don’t just become crea ve. They are
born with it, like blood clo ng disorders.” This me, she brought a dehydrated
salmon treat for the cat. It was crouched
“That’s not true,” she said. “Margie, the on the ground and ju ng its neck out. Af-
one who just lost her retriever to hip dys- ter a while it lazed back to the porch, then
plasia, has taken two classes and you should leapt onto the swing. She wondered if Liz
see her oranges. There are formulas for get- and Hugo swung together. She wondered,
too, if they exchanged rings. Hugo didn’t
ng it right. Did you know a person’s eye want to wear a ring for their marriage. In-
level is exactly halfway down the head?” stead, he’d insisted on ge ng an expensive
diver’s style watch that would mark the
Claudia was silent. Her mom had a point.
What’s the harm in le ng things go a bit? mes of their life together, s ll circular, s ll
symbolic, even closer to a main artery. He
A er another moment, her mother tugged at it, though, always trying to loos-
sighed, “You never should’ve quit your job.” en it. “It’s not a handcuff,” she had joked
once. He told her that it was plucking hairs
Claudia remembered a er they signed from his arm. Obviously, there was more to
and walked away. She was so red and sim- it. A ring would’ve been be er, she thought.
ple things seemed too hard to execute. “I A ring doesn’t bend. It doesn’t shi . She
didn’t quit, Mom, I surrendered.” would’ve believed more in a ring.

“Right. And now you need to come back The cat’s green eyes flickered as it re-
from all of that,” Her mother said. “Most flected the light from the porch.
community centers have all sorts of free
classes. You could paint or write or pound “Here, ki y,” she whispered. The sound
the crap out of clay.” of her voice in the darkness was eerie.

Claudia thought the class would be a
li le like divorce itself. All the emo ons
swirling in you finally converge and erupt


Adelaide Literary Magazine

She said it again quickly, holding out the rumbled off and when she ran downstairs
treat. As the cat moved toward her, its and looked out the window, there were flo-
top fur floated lightly in the air, and its tail rescent orange direc onal arrows making a
twitched with suspicion. It seemed just as rectangle with the word “OUT” spray-paint-
baffled as Claudia about this series of visits. ed along the lines.
She reached out and it sniffed, ckling the
ends of her fingers with its whiskers and “Out?” she yelped. “What the hell!”
then dipping its head into her hand, giving
itself a rub. “That was quick,” said Tyler, hugging her
from behind. “They said they’d be here in a
“You see, ki y, I’m nice,” she whispered, few days. But I didn’t believe them.”
“Do you want to come with me?” she said,
reaching her other hand around to coax it She pulled away from him. “You called
toward her but then she stopped. “Get a them to fix my puddle!” She said darkly.
grip!” she hissed. Women take pets, men She was feeling possessive.
take girlfriends. The cat stepped back, its
eyes unflinching and green, like a traffic “Yes,” he admi ed proudly.
signal. The cat cleaned its paws; crouched
down; twitched its tail; ran across the “How could you do that without asking?”
street and shot up a tree. Claudia shut her She saw it now, how their life would be to-
car door; started the engine; looked back; gether. He would innocently go about liv-
and made her way quietly down the street, ing; she would try to stop living. He’d yell,
vowing never, never, ever to do that again. she’d yell. They’d realize there’s nothing
– no kids, no movies, no turtles – to bind
When she returned home, Tyler rolled them. He’d sleep with her new best friend.
over and hugged her ght and for a mo-
ment, she let herself sink into his arms. She “That’s not a puddle, it’s a crevasse wait-
felt grateful to be with him and found her- ing to happen! You don’t know what could
self quickly giving in, folding, so and avail- be running underneath; a stream; shi ing
able, like a cocktail napkin. She thought of sand. It could open up—”
how great love notes are has ly scribbled
on these squares. Her head filled with poet- “That crevasse as you put it,” she said
ry that she might jot down: Why is this bar poin ng hard, “is important to me.”
persimmon/ It’s hard to sip my gin/Another
double on the rocks/Of being in love with “You mean to tell me, a gaping watery
him. She loved him, she thought, just may- mess pulling the street and your house into
be there was love, as she dri ed to sleep. the ground, is important to you!”

In the morning, a flatbed truck carrying “It’s important to me,” she repeated com-
a backhoe ra led and sloshed through the ba vely.
puddle, parking east of her house. Anoth-
er truck’s breaks squealed as it stopped. “That’s a li le crazy, right? Can you see
Workers hopped off the back and pulled that’s crazy?”
No Parking signs with them, surrounding
the puddle the same way she envisioned Claudia sighed. “I don’t even know why
a military assault might occur. One truck you are with me.” She shook her head.
“Why are you with me?”

“You know what,” he said. “I think you
have to answer that yourself.” And he
grabbed his coat and marched out the door.


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