In a park across the street from Gallery 54, Leslie waited on a bench, under the maple and lace bark elm. The creamy white ridges in the bark had been as wonderful to touch as she had imagined. But after the man piercing bottles and trash with a pointed stick circled her a 3rd time, she clenched her thumbs and sat, taking in the matte dots of blue, yellow and orange in the beige haze created by the rustling of the leaves. Key of B, she thought. The wind here is in the key of B.

From this point, she…

I Didn’t Ask For This, Chapter 15

Having his sister and nephew in town should take some of the pressure off him as they were all happy to see Dinah. At supper, their mama was chatty and animated and her eyes shone. Even Mr. Beede chuckled once or twice.

Dinah was eight when he was born. Naomi, eleven. Simeon had been a colicky baby and out of all the family, Dinah was the only one who could calm him. Dinah became his. She was the one who let him crawl up onto her lap while she did her homework, never telling him not to suck on his fingers while watching Reading Rainbow videos, crawling under his bed in her Sunday best to help find his missing socks. Their daddy had always been disinterested in his children and their mama was busy…

Mrs. Anderson rang as Rosie was getting out of the shower.

“Have you checked the weather? It is simply pouring outside.”

“And it is pouring inside. I’m not quite out of the shower yet.”

“Then child, why on earth did you answer the phone?”

“Well, Mam. Last time I didn’t, you came over in your jammies.”

“I got worried when you let the voicemail answer it.”

“It was three in the morning.” She put the phone on speaker and set it by the sink. “Mam, I’m already running a bit late.”

“I want you to know, the sidewalks look very…

Picture of clothespins
Picture of clothespins

They never got around to that 2nd date.

Sam was enjoying their time together. They were sharing only the little things for now — did you grow up watching that TV show, too? How have you never tried scallops? — and now his offer to show her his favorite place scared him. What if she didn’t like it, or worse, told him so? He hated the thought of losing their evenings over this.

Leslie worried, and for the same reason. She and Dex had never behaved as she saw other couples do, even after they were married, and especially not…

Lari Katz

Lari Katz makes up stories in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

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