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Fiction

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Illustration by Eleni Kalorkoti

Seeing Rose

It’s about a half-hour train ride to Yonkers, much of it along the river. You come out of the city, off the island, and countryside appears—green strips of landscape, woody bluffs, brown water, telephone lines. You can see New Jersey. Stacked up behind you, northern Manhattan fades away. Liesel liked taking the train. If she were there she would have stared out the window, lost among the landmarks. But Bill felt confined. He got bored. In Texas, you get used to driving everywhere. You live in the car. He tried to play a game of solitaire on the empty seat next to him, but the train shook too much. He tried to read a book but felt distracted by various things, including the view. By other things, too. The sound of the wheels on the tracks, metal on metal. It’s true, though (he was talking to Liesel in his head), you get these young-man feelings on a train, you could go anywhere. Or see your sister.


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Illustration by Eleni Kalorkoti

Nice and Mild


This is going to be—no, I don’t want to be categorical—this could be the start of a virtuous circle. My psychologist has told me that I need to say positive things to myself, only I don’t want to be too positive, as that might just make things worse. But I can say this: My life is a mess and I’m going to try to sort it out, starting with the small things. Then later, I’ll be able to deal with bigger, more complicated things; buying blinds is a lifeline that’s been thrown to me from dry land as I flail and flounder in the waves. 

Illustration by Eleni Kalorkoti

Souvenir

The ferry, tied still to the dock, pointed north, toward where the Bosporus opened into the Black Sea. The boat wasn’t headed there, but was bound for Istanbul, and it left in fifteen minutes, at three. 

“ ‘Nicely done, nicely done,’ ” Chris said, inspired by the sight of the Australians sitting a hundred feet away, not on the ferry yet but at one of the waterfront cafés.