From the story Angelfish

The night after Beth’s funeral is clear and chill and so, by habit, and not because she will be here to harvest from the vines, Leslie covers the tomato seedlings with a thin tarp. She will spend a year or two in Europe, she says, before deciding whether or not to return. She has had three determined suitors of which we are aware and their disappointments are spoken about on bar stools between Umatilla and The Dalles.

“You would leave Lance Jarvis for France?” Marjorie teases.

“The French offer free health care,” Leslie replies.

“You know his brother Victor is now tenured at Stanford,” Marjorie continues.

“I think I knew before you did,” Leslie says.

“Well, there you are,” Marjorie replies. “His brother gets tenure at Stanford and you’d still break his heart. We get French men in Seattle on a very regular basis. All they do is ride bikes and write lurid poems.”

“Which you help them translate,” Leslie slices back, without missing a beat.

Marjorie laughs. Leslie laughs. I laugh. Our laughter finds its way like a brook, rolling for a while before dissipating into rivulets, then to drops. By the time I notice, aloud, that it is after one in the morning Leslie is asleep on the thick rug in front of the fireplace.

I bend to kiss her on the forehead and to Marjorie, who sits cross-legged, staring into the glowing coals, I give a kiss on the cheek.

“I love you too,” she says.

Final story segment, Swim

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *