• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Life Used to Be So Hard


Today, I got on the subway carrying my red Knopf tote bag. A young woman who looked like Jean Seberg got on carrying a New Yorker tote. She was looking at her phone; I was looking at mine. I wanted her to notice me. I wanted to be her. I wondered if she worked in a cubicle at the New Yorker, reading short stories until she died of boredom. Or maybe she waded through millions of poems and went home at night and played flute. Of course, she smokes either Gauloise or American Spirits. She looked sad. Her girlfriend keeps picking fights for no reason and the paint on the radiator is curling like bark.

What short story did you walk into today?


14 Responses

  1. Funny you should ask. Just submitted a short story for the first time ever to the New Yorker. Now I wait for silence.

  2. Must be a fancy tote. Mine is coming in the mail for re-subscribing. Or maybe people will start thinking I work there. I’m cool with that.

  3. I don’t do short stories, but if I did, today’s feature would be called The Flu. Here’s how it would go. Day nine of The Sh*t. I’m sick. Of it. The End.

  4. A Yorkshirman, a guy from Liverpool, a Canadian, and an American go kayaking in the Everglades……..

  5. Well, I just walked into this vignette/story today and I’ll carry around the images of these women all day, esp. on the metro. It reminds me to seek artistry in my life, to look & listen for stories wherever I go.
    And to not pick fights…
    P.S. I have a Strand bookstore tote. Can I add that to the mix?

  6. …and my short story involves a lecturer (not a professor, mind you, a bit of added drama and tension) grading papers. But I usually hate most novels and stories set in academia.

    Has anyone every written about how many second novels are set in academia? First novel gets acclaim. Author gets teaching gig. Author writes about drama in the humanities dept. Bleh.

  7. While I was working the window at the post office this morning, a woman complimented me on the sweater I was wearing, oatmeal grey, cable knit, bulky and comfortable. I told her my daughter got it for me a couple of Christmas’ ago at a sale at her school. “She got it for a quarter,” I said. “I’m gonna let her do all my shopping.”

    Earlier my wife gave me a hard time about the old jacket I had on. It’s worn, frayed and could probably use a good washing, but every time it gets washed more small tears appear, the spin cycle too rough on the old fabric. It’s a decent coat, Patagonia,about 25 years old, a gift from my mother who always worried about Adirondack winters. I have a hard time letting go and my wife grudgingly accepts this, although she’d prefer I was more like the sweater and less like the coat.

  8. I walked into a short story about a boring domestic drama this morning. Fortunately I stepped right the fuck out again and went to work.

  9. “Oh shit … there’s ‘resting bitch face’ “ Hooker mumbled to himself as he walked his Chihuahua down Park Melinda. His dog pulled him across the street and provided a comfortable distance allowing him to pass by, little scathed. “Hi“ he said.

    She gave the dog a critical look that humiliated him slightly as he thought, ‘she wonders why I’m with this gay dog.’ He gave her a pained smile with a minimal greeting gesture, weakly raising a hand. She returned the slightest of nods.

    “As good as a wink” he said out loud and thought, ‘to a blind horse’. It was an insult he was confident she would fail to grasp and gave him secret satisfaction.

  10. Since you asked.

    I’m riding on the dirty subway train. I had sat down in the only open
    seat next to a lady who could of been Jean Seberg between sets of “Saint Joan.” There is a beautiful just unveiled quality about her face. Her skin a pale olive that had not seen much outdoor light. Lips looking innocent and untouched. She had to move her rather sizable New Yorker tote bag from the empty seat, placing it onto her lap. I sat my lite Patagonia bag at my feet. We near the stop where people get off for
    the UN Headquarters — people getting ready to hurry off the train.
    My eyes lower from her calm relaxed face, eyes sheltered by sunglasses, those lips, her pale skin. I trace the same pale skin down her exposed neck to the top of her shirt, perhaps accidentally left unbuttoned, showing a glimpse of the angelic pale skin of her young breasts. The train begins screeching to a halt. My eyes lower further down her chest, her covered stomach, tracing the length of her arm and reaching her pale olive hand. She holds the end of a wire that emerges from her hefty tote. “Oh my God!!” I think to myself. I only have a second. The train is coming to a final stop. I without a moment to spare reach my hand to her’s and wrap around it. I swing my other arm around and embrace the rest of her Joan of Arc silhouette.
    I place my lips onto her lips in a kiss that would have pleased Jean.
    The sudden bright light and an explosive force outward I expect.
    The carnage of Paris and so many other place would be there.
    Instead, I hear the train doors closing again and the wheels rolling
    on track. Sometime later . . . when our lips came apart. She said softly to me, “We must be in heaven now.” I hold her hand very tightly
    as we travel the rest of the way.

    Betsy, If you change your mind about seeing
    “A Crossing at Midnight,” Please let me know.

  11. The Changeless Light at Dustunder.

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