short-short fiction, commissioned by Jonathan Thomson
She only came to see me when Elly was out of town. It was as if she planned it, and maybe she did. She had a feel for lonely days, and I had a taste for distraction. Like the park by the water at the end of summer, the sky with disappearing stars and our shadows, wrapped in blankets, moving in the shapes of ringing bells. Like espresso and Camus in winter, when I was most afraid. She fed my crises from a distance, and in the mornings I invented dreams to tell Elly in place of the dreams about her: the ends of her short hair in the sun -- her squint when I didn't know what to say -- her laugh, sharp, almost mean -- her shoulders in the stairway of my building, forehead to the door jamb, trying to leave, or not to. I didn't kiss her, but I could have.