Twenty-Seven Words For Tears
by Mosca

1. baby

Susan wonders why Kerry couldn't have told her about the miscarriage. She wonders why Abby couldn't have told her. Abby only knew because she'd caught Kerry trying to find the heartbeat. The heartbeat not of a baby, but of a thing that was never going to be a baby. Kerry should have said something to Susan. Susan would have been supportive, but she doesn't get the chance. Instead, she asks innocently how the baby (not-baby, never-baby) is doing. "You didn't hear?" Kerry says.

Of course Susan didn't hear. Kerry didn't tell her.


2. walls

The room that was going to be the baby's room has two bright white walls. Another is dull with a coat of primer. The fourth is still the old blue. Sandy didn't leave because Kerry miscarried; she left because it took Kerry four days to tell her. Kerry wishes that Sandy would have stayed long enough to at least finish painting the room. Kerry doesn't know the first thing about housepainting. She stares at the primered wall, clutching her empty belly. The flat gray-beige shouts dissonance, taunts her perfectionism.


3. turmeric

Susan says she'll paint the baby's room. Kerry turns her down twice, saying she'll get it done professionally, even though what she really wants to do is leave the walls as they are, mismatched for mourning. Susan shows up anyway on a day they both have off and takes Kerry to Home Depot to pick a color. The store overwhelms Kerry: too many people, too many home improvement products that Kerry doesn't know how to use. "My father owned a housepainting business before he retired," Susan says. "I used to work for him in the summers."

Susan knows which is the best kind of paint. She lays out color swatches. "Couldn't we just do white?" says Kerry.

"You need to make a clean break from white," Susan says. "Besides, there's fifteen different shades."

Each color swatch is a different room, a different future. Kerry chooses a rich brown-yellow. "The color of turmeric," Kerry says.

"What is turmeric, anyway?" Susan says.

"A spice," says Kerry. "You use it in Indian food." She is pleased to know at least something.


4. yellow

Back in the house, Susan takes off her sweater. Painting is sweaty work. The furniture is covered with old sheets and pushed to the center of the room. Susan shows Kerry how to do details and edges with a small, flat brush. Susan will probably have to do them over, but it will keep Kerry busy. Kerry seems like she would be good at details, but she's not. She keeps stepping back, wanting to see how the room looks. Susan strips the white and then the blue, primes, paints. The roller still feels like an extension of her arm. She lets Kerry watch her. When she is finished, she knows she is out of practice because there are smears of turmeric yellow on her skin. It reminds her of a stupid lesbian movie she watched in Arizona, with the stupid (cute, but stupid) lesbian fortune-teller who was her girlfriend at the time. It's not a sex scene that Susan would like to replicate: latex paint is hard to wash off, and it clumps in your hair like it is trying to hold the whole universe together.

The room glows like butter. "It's gorgeous," Kerry says. "Perfect. Thank you." Caught up in all the light, Susan kisses Kerry on the lips.

"You looked like you needed it," Susan says. Kerry tilts her head back and returns the kiss. They don't cover each other in paint, but they do have sex on the floor of the yellow room, on top of one of the old bedsheets that had been protecting the furniture. When they are finished, staring at each other in amazement at what they have done, they both smell like fresh paint.


5. blind

"I should be dating," Kerry tells Susan, some days later. They don't talk about the incident with the sex in the yellow room, but they do talk, a lot lately, and that's a good thing, Kerry thinks. "I should be going out on dates and meeting people."

The next day, Susan brings a couple of those free alternative newsweeklies to work. After they finish reading The Straight Dope and the movie reviews, Susan turns to the personal ads. The Pink Pages has a whole page of Women Seeking Women. "Pick one," Susan says. Kerry scoffs, but later she writes down the voicemail number for GWF, 43, professional, seeks similar for romantic dinners, movies with subtitles, urban adventure.

"How was your date?" Susan asks a week later. "Come on. I know you went."

"I don't think she shut her mouth for two hours," Kerry says. "And by that, I mean--"

"Partially chewed food on full display?"

"Mmm-hmm," Kerry says. "How-- how was yours?"

"He wanted me to start a stock portfolio."

"In this economy?"

Each week, they sit down with the Pink Pages and the New City and pick an ad. Kerry always chooses a woman-seeking woman; Susan takes whomever sounds most interesting. Soon, they are purposely selecting the improbable, the nakedly pathetic. They don't want to go on dates so much as they want to spill everything the next morning.


6. moonlight

Kerry loses a patient on Good Friday: a nine-month-old girl with congenital liver failure. She goes up to the roof to look down on the river like Elysium lies on the other side. She couldn't say what she wanted to say to the parents: that they at least got nine months of giggling, breathing baby. She wonders if her baby was enough of a life to make it to the other side. She wonders whether there's an other side for anyone to make it to, or if Heaven is the wishful invention of a grieving parent.

Susan comes up to the roof with two folding deck chairs. "That's a beautiful moon," she says. Kerry hasn't even noticed it. The moon is huge and gold, a thick pock-marked crescent like the underside of a woman's breast.

"Want to look at it with me a while?" Kerry says.


7. forward

Kerry says she's tired of dating. She likes reading the terrible ads, and she loves listening to Susan's descriptions of the insipid and intolerable. Susan has been on a lot of bad dates and very few good ones. She should know by now that she almost always falls in love with the people she purposely doesn't date, like going out with them would suffocate the feeling.

Kerry would be a good date. They would sit on the roof and look at the moon, and then Susan would kiss her. Will kiss her. Does kiss her. Kerry tastes like the memory of yellow paint and the sodium glow of streetlights through curtains. The deck chair groans in the moonlight.


8. precautions

"What if someone sees us?" Kerry says.

"There's no one up here."

"Someone could come up."

"I locked the door."

"What if someone needs to?" Kerry says. "What if... a helicopter comes in or something?"

"Then I'll unlock the door. Anyway, we could take care of the patient, couldn't we?"

"I'm only asking because otherwise, I'll think about it," Kerry says.

"I know." There is no use in telling Kerry to stop worrying, only in showing her there's no reason to.


9. repartee

It is Hitchcock Week at the Art Institute revival theater. They miss "The 39 Steps" and "Psycho" for night shifts, but they catch the other five. "I always wanted to be Barbara Bel Geddes in 'Vertigo,' Kerry says. "Never wanted to be the star. The sidekicks were the smart ones. They got all the good lines."

"But they always wind up alone," Susan says.

"I like to think they ran away with each other."

Susan lines them up in her mind, all those girl reporters and loyal secretaries in their smart suits and ridiculous hats, alone on screen because of what the movies couldn't show. At night, they unbuttoned their hose, took off their makeup, and traded bons mots.


10. resume

There is a day when the phone rings. Susan has to say "Weaver residence," because her voice is the opposite of Kerry's, low and worn like an old blanket. Susan covers the receiver. "Ex-girlfriend," she mouths, raising her eyebrows to make it a question.

Sandy has a way of knowing when Kerry is home. She misses Kerry, has missed her since she left. Thinks they could work it out. Trust is something people earn, and Sandy thinks she could earn it. Kerry was with Sandy for a whole year, and as much as she loved Sandy, she never trusted her. It has only been a month since Good Friday, but Kerry has had eight years to learn faith in Susan. "I'm seeing someone else," Kerry says. "The one who answered the phone. I'm-- I'm sorry."

"That was quick," Sandy snaps, like it has been four days and not four months.

"It's been slow," Kerry says. "Incredibly slow. You have no idea." She hangs up the phone without saying goodbye. One farewell is enough for any relationship.


11. transform

Kerry is trying to turn the yellow room into something. She used to call it a guest room, although she almost never had guests. Now, she is calling it a study. She gets the DSL line extended and moves the computer and its desk in there. She buys new crimson curtains, made of fabric that rattles when she brushes it with her arm, and an Oriental rug that picks up both that red and the walls' gold. And best, a daybed she and Susan find at a gallery, designed by an artist to be both functional and beautiful. Its dark wood frame slides seamlessly from right-angled to flat, and its red cushions thump into place. It's too big for Kerry's car, and the artist himself, an adjunct professor at DePaul, comes with a borrowed truck. He was an engineer before he became an artist. They discover, stuck in Sunday traffic on the way to Kerry's house, that all three of them intended to be something else: Susan almost majored in English, and Kerry's undergraduate degree is in anthropology.

When they position the daybed under the window, Susan rubs her hands together. "It's all fire and earth in here," she says. "The things you've already got too much of." But Kerry is beginning to think that everyone should have a room that indulges their vices.


12. inevitability

"You and Weaver," Abby laughs. "Like you thought we wouldn't notice."

"We thought you would notice," Susan says. "We didn't want to encourage you."

"She's not what people think. I don't... think she'd hurt you, and if she did, it wouldn't be on purpose. There's not that many people you can say that about, are there?"

"She's unhappy. I'm unhappy. We're unhappy together."

"But when you say it, you've got a smile on your face," Abby says.

"It feels like it's been longer than two months."

"I thought it had been longer," Abby said.

"Only since Good Friday."

"That baby," Abby remembers.

"Yeah. She wasn't ready for babies."

"Not dead ones," Abby says. She drags on her cigarette. "What took so long?"

"I don't know. Fear. Rebellion against fate. Why did it take you and Carter so long?"

"That's completely different," Abby snaps.

"No, it's almost exactly the same."

"You were smiling again," Abby says, "when you said that."

"Because it is," Susan says. She smiles through the afternoon, because it's there for the smiling.


13. vanity

Kerry cuts her hair short for summer. She goes somewhere expensive, which isn't something she normally does, but she hasn't been happy with the way she's looked in a long time. It seems more acceptable to be vain now that she doesn't have anyone to impress. Susan's already impressed. The stylist has vestiges of an Eastern European accent and swishes his hips when he walks. He is much more precise and attentive when Kerry mentions her girlfriend. He trims her hair boy-short and feathery, highlights it in several shades of blond and auburn so it seems to change color when she shakes her head. She leaves a good tip, and the stylist emphasizes that she should come back in six weeks. She examines her face in the rearview mirror of her car. There are lines pulling at her eyes and lips, drawing her cheeks inward. At least her hair looks good.


14. kaddish

"There's a Jewish tradition," Yosh says with the convert's zeal. "After a year, you stop mourning. There's all these restrictions you put on yourself for that first year after someone you love dies, but at the end, you just... get back to normal."

Susan narrows her eyes. "You're looking for an excuse for an admit desk party, aren't you?"

"Can we at least have a cake?"

They choose a day for it: one year after the letter arrived from Hawaii. The afternoon before, Susan goes to an Italian bakery near her apartment. Mark had terrible favorites. Lemon cake with chocolate frosting; angel food with pineapple. When he was alive, they all used to humor him with bad birthday cakes. Take narrow slices, throw them out discreetly.

This party will be for the living. Susan picks something that involves the words "triple fudge."

"Do you want us to write something on it?" the cashier says.

What would they write? Every possibility is horrific. "Happy Death Day, Mark!" Susan says, "No, just... maybe some flowers."

"Any particular color?"

"Yellow," Susan says without thinking.


15. independence

Susan has to go to this thing on the Fourth of July. Family picnic. She has to, because she never goes. She gave that office party instead of going home for Christmas. She skipped Easter Sunday to freak out about Kerry: not call her, not call her, call her finally and wind up going together to an Indian restaurant for a late lunch, then having sex in Kerry's car. And Mother's Day? Fuck Mother's Day. All her cousins getting handmade gifts from their kids and flowers from their husbands, while Susan sits making up reasons why she is still single, still childless.

So she has to go to this Fourth of July picnic. And she has to go without Kerry. "Don't bring that woman you're seeing," her mother says on the phone. "It'll only cause trouble." Kerry seems relieved to avoid the family and schedules herself a shift, seven to seven on Independence Day.

Susan brings Kerry's homemade hummus and a bottle of chardonnay. Her cousins' kids run wild, except for the ones who are teenagers already, who disappear with a jug of vodka and a dime bag of cheap pot. Susan sits in a lawn chair and sips a beer. One by one, the aunts and cousins approach. They're not bewildered anymore, just pitying. Poor Susan, who gave up a family to have a career. Always the smart one, and look where she is now. "I'm seeing someone, actually," she says.

"Oh, honey, you know these things never last with you," Susan's mother says. Cookie is deluded enough to think she's being supportive.

"Why can't this woman be special?" Susan says smoothly. Her aunts' faces go rigid; they are pretending not to be appalled, but at the same time they finally have their explanation.

"Didn't I ask you not to bring that up?" Cookie growls.

"Too late, Mom," Susan says, getting up for another beer. "It's way too late."


16. birthday

Kerry stands in front of the restroom mirror. She looks good, with her hair freshly cut and dyed like autumn leaves. The stylist put more red in this time, and it looks more natural. She coats her lips with the color she switched to a few weeks ago: darker than usual, a shade that reminds her of deserts. She drops the lipstick back into her purse and takes out a tampon. Shutting herself into a stall, she realizes that today was her due date. She holds her flat midsection like it is trying to spill open. Today, she ought to be holding something new and tiny. The newest girl in the world. She didn't really know the baby's sex-- she hadn't wanted to know, even after she lost it-- but she called it "she" in her mind.

Kerry's belly is strong and tight. She's started spending a few hours a week in the lap pool at the gym and a few minutes a night doing abdominal crunches. It started as a way to distract herself, but like all the other distractions, it has wound up being a source of comfort and even contentment. The new hair, the new lipstick, the new girlfriend: these are the consolation prizes for empty arms. This isn't where Kerry is supposed to be.

She sits down on the toilet. There's no reason to mourn a full life. She cries anyway.


17. barren

Susan knocks on the stall door. "Kerry? Is everything okay in there? You've been here a while."

"Fine," Kerry says. "Just a minute." She opens the stall door like nothing is wrong and goes to wash her hands. Susan sees Kerry's red-rimmed eyes reflected in the mirror.

"Were you crying?" Susan says.

"Hormones," Kerry says.

"It's July 11," Susan says. She doesn't know why she remembers that this was Kerry's due date.

"Nobody's birthday," Kerry says. She and her ex-girlfriend didn't have enough time to pick baby names. Closer to right after the miscarriage, "nobody" was the answer Kerry gave when she didn't want to talk about it. Now it is a sick shared joke between Susan and Kerry. The baby that never became anybody.

"I'm sure it's somebody's birthday," Susan says, drawing a smile from Kerry. She puts her arms around Kerry's waist. "Besides. You were three months closer than I ever got."

"Did you-- did you have an abortion?"

"Never been pregnant," Susan says. "Never will be."

"What happened?"

"Uterine cysts. Fibroids. I've had them since college. They were benign up until a few years ago, but I think... I took a lot of chances and never had a scare, you know? And now-- they turned precancerous a few years ago. There's all this literature saying that with laparoscopy you've still got a shot at fertility, but... I'm pretty sure I didn't have much of a shot before."

"Is that why you..."

"Why I what?" Susan says.

"Came on to me."

"No," Susan says. There are more explanations in her head, things about light and yellow walls and about mutual loneliness, but she thinks that Kerry already knows about them.

"I... wanted to make sure," Kerry says. She goes over to the towel dispenser and dries her hands. She looks like she might walk out of the bathroom and never say another word to Susan. "I would have said some things differently," she says, "if I had known. About you."

"Somehow, not talking about it makes it easier," Susan says. "Like it's not really there. Like it never happened. You know, when I had boyfriends, I would still use condoms, when we weren't seeing anyone else and I knew they were healthy? You can't look a guy in the eye and say, 'Don't bother, I'm infertile.'"

"You never told any of them?" Kerry says.

"I told you." She kisses Kerry's neck and sways back and forth, holding her.

"And see?" Kerry says. "I didn't leave you."


18. immunodeficiency

Kerry gets a phone call on a Sunday morning. "Hottest day of 2003," the TV yells. Susan likes the TV news in the morning, and it at least doesn't drive Kerry crazy anymore. It's Reggie on the phone. He's calling from the medical ward at Rush Northwestern. Jeanie's been admitted with pneumonia. They're waiting on tests, but Jeanie's convinced she's due for an upgrade to full-blown AIDS. She can take visitors, and she's been asking to see Kerry. Kerry suspects that Jeanie wants to see someone who will not varnish the truth. Jeanie's life for the past eight years has been a guessing game: which disease will kill her first? Nobody but Kerry seems to understand that Jeanie has adopted this knowledge into herself. She has made it a blessing to die young.

Kerry tells Susan she has to go. Susan can stay as long as she wants. Finish breakfast. "What's Jeanie got?" Susan asks.

"A lot of things," Kerry says, grabbing her keys.

Jeanie looks normal, Jeanie-like. She's a little jaundiced-- her hepatitis must be flaring up-- but Jeanie has always looked thin and delicate. She's got her hair braided in pigtails, and oddly enough, they make her look wise, like a Cherokee grandmother. Kerry mostly listens. She wants to soak up all the Jeanie she can before there isn't any more. There could be years, of course-- this could be a false alarm-- but Kerry doesn't want to take the chance.

"We're all dying," Jeanie says. "I'm just going about it efficiently."

"Slow down," Kerry says. She tries to imagine a world without Jeanie. "Slow down. There's no rush."


19. protective

Kerry is starting to think she just shouldn't answer the phone anymore. She's in Susan's apartment. It's dinnertime. Susan is unexpectedly and disastrously out of eggs and is down the street at the White Hen rectifying the situation. When Susan's phone rings, it's generally either work or Abby. Kerry doesn't pretend anymore that people will be surprised to hear her voice on Susan's line.

"Who is this?" a man's voice demands.

The attack robs Kerry of coherent English. "This is Susan's-- I'm--"

"Her lesbian lover, right? Well, this is Joe. Her sister's ex-husband. I guess you can just let her know that she can see her niece again when she's done fucking women."

"Don't you think that if she was going to convert anyone, it would be too late already?" Kerry shouts into the phone. Tinnitus isn't enough pain for him.

"Lady, you have no business telling me what to expose my child to."

"She's not even your child," Kerry says.

"Have a look at the adoption papers, and then tell me who my kid is!"

"Yeah, well, maybe it shouldn't be," Kerry yells. "Maybe the system should be protecting her from assholes like you."

Susan comes in with her convenience store bag. "What's going on?" she says. Her voice is so soft, so low.

"Your brother-in-law," Kerry says, handing Susan the phone. She takes the bag and goes into the kitchen to break some eggs.


20. luck

Chloe has known forever. Since Susan was in college. And there were girlfriends in Arizona. How could Joe not have known? Cookie must have gotten to him. Susan cradles the phone on her shoulder and prepares to be the one in the fight who isn't arguing.

Chloe is gone. At least Suzie is safe, with her stepdad, but Chloe's probably back on heroin again, somewhere in the world. And Joe has taken over. Even now that he's legally Suzie's father-- and what an excellent arrangement that is-- he's scared that Susan will take his little girl away. "His" meaning a child who he sees as his possession. And Susan knows from the words that pour and pour through the receiver that she will never get close.

She will be lucky if she finds a way to contact her niece that can get around her brother-in-law. Lucky and persistent. She intends to be these things, not that they are new or foreign to her. This child is the chance that she has.


21. opinion

Susan has been collecting reactions. Most people at work don't say much about her and Kerry, just steal disapproving glances. Sometimes, it seems like they're angry that they have nothing to talk about. It's not that Susan and Kerry don't argue, or that there is no drama in their lives. They only work hard to keep these things out of view.

Abby just seems glad that Susan is happy. That's unusual for Abby, who never thinks anyone is good enough for anyone else. She's staying out of this one, though. Maybe she doesn't know what to think or how to say it. And it is just barely possible that she really does approve: that she can see from the outside that this is genuine and healthy, that it could last. That she means it when she says she's glad to see Susan this way.

Frank thinks they're both going to Hell, but he'd think so regardless. Jerry secretly hopes they'll invite him over and put on a show. Chuny always talks like they're just on the edge of breaking up; Jing-Mei is the same way, always inviting Susan to places full of electric-pink cocktails and single men. It is hard to tell whether Luka disapproves of their relationship, or he just despises them for expecting him to behave like a competent doctor. Pratt waits until they're just in earshot and tells offensive jokes. One day, recently, Gallant told him off for that. It's hard to say what Gallant thinks, but his respect for Kerry is undiminished, which may sum it up. Yosh thinks the two of them are adorable and makes a point of saying so regularly. Carter says nothing, just watches, out of his depth.

Kerry tells Susan that Romano came to her today and said, "Would you mind telling Dr. Lewis not to come out to any mentally unstable patients or anything? Because you know, between you and her, I'm almost convinced that patients have a fighting chance of getting out of that E.R. alive." They have his blessing, at least.


22. library

Kerry buys new bookshelves for the study. She stacks them with medical journals and reference books and adds her well-worn collection of Austen novels, but the shelves still seem empty. It feels wrong to call this room a study when it has hardly any books. She's becoming one of those people who never reads anything. She remembers when she used to disdain those people.

She and Susan argue on the phone. Kerry wants new books: shiny covers, the crackle of the spine when she opens them. Susan buys her books used. Secondhand books have silent stories underneath the words printed in them. Susan always hopes to find some memento of a book's previous life: an old airline ticket used as a bookmark or a smear of grease in the margins.

They compromise. First, the palatial Borders on Michigan Avenue, then a cavern on North Clark Street purported to be the best secondhand bookstore in the city. They spend hundreds of dollars, pulling from the shelves anything that sounds interesting or odd. Susan giggles at the idiotic book-jacket blurbs, reads them out loud so the other customers turn and scowl.

They go back to Kerry's house and transfer their quarry from trunk to shelves, alphabetical by author. "I'll never read all these," Kerry says. "Do you know how long it's been since I've had time for a book?"

"We could each read one now," Susan says. "Get things started."

Susan chooses a collection of Elizabeth Bishop poems; Kerry takes an anthropological study of women in West Africa. They pull out the daybed and lie next to each other. The room purrs with knowledge.


23. ombudsman

Susan gets a letter at work from Mr. Sean Kurland, third-grade teacher. Suzie's third-grade teacher. Suzie told him that Joe told her that Susan doesn't want to see her anymore. Mr. Kurland has been a third-grade teacher for over twenty years. He has a sense of when a child's home life is unstable and a parent is taking desperate measures to compensate. He sincerely hopes that he's mistaken, but if he isn't, could Susan please contact him at this phone number, or this other phone number, or this e-mail address, or this postal address? She has a feeling he'd accept smoke signals. If that's what it will take, she'll light a fire.


24. rest

Aunt Madge is having a Labor Day barbecue. She wants it to be a new family tradition. Susan has always been Aunt Madge's favorite niece, and the feeling is mutual. Susan remembers the Christmas presents, year after year. The other aunts gave her dolls or clothes, but from Aunt Madge, she got a real working microscope, build-your-own rockets, _101 Experiments You Can Do At Home!_ Susan would pretend the gifts didn't excite her, but when she got home, she'd put the dolls away in the toy cupboard and start making a mess in the kitchen and singeing the backyard.

It is hard to say no to Aunt Madge. Susan is trying to work up the strength when Aunt Madge adds, "Why don't you bring that... friend of yours?"

"Which friend?" says Susan.

"The one you mentioned. Or aren't you two together anymore?"

"I... don't think my mom really wants her around."

"Listen," Aunt Madge says. "It's my house. Your mother has no business telling me who I can and can't invite into it."

Susan wishes that Aunt Madge could hear her smile. "Is there anything you want us to bring?"


25. encomium

Kerry is reading a book on emotional recovery from the loss of a pregnancy. It's the third book she's read in as many weeks, and she's proud of herself. She imagines being able to divide her shelves into "read" and "not read." All those words in her head. It will be an accomplishment that her striving co-workers cannot undermine.

She reads about memorial ceremonies for first-trimester miscarriages. Women who baptize their stillborn babies or dress them up and have them photographed to hang among the family pictures. Six months ago, she would have-- no, even then, she would have thought it was silly. She knew all along what she was mourning for: not the death of someone she loved, but of someone she'd never have an opportunity to love. The future that never happened.

When Kerry lost the baby, she wished she had some tangible way of saying goodbye. An urn full of ashes to send downstream. She'd forgotten that loss lifts like fog. She feels so light now. The child she didn't have is air and color, all the things that she can explain but cannot touch. The world shimmers in the red and yellow of a new star in the sky. She is not alone.


26. elementary

The letter comes in a white envelope adorned with panda bear stickers. It's printed with the return address of Hillside Elementary School in Montclair, New Jersey. The glitter from the stickers rubs off on Susan's hands as she tears the envelope open.

Dear Aunt Susan, My teacher said, "If you write a letter to your aunt, I will send it." I hope you like my letter. I'm on a soccer team this year. We have lost all of our games so far, but it's fun anyway. We're learning about the solar system in science. Did you know that Saturn has 18 moons? We're reading a book called "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler." Have you read it? I think you would like it a lot. I'm reading "A Wrinkle in Time" for my book report and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" for fun. I like reading a lot of books at once. I don't think it's confusing. I miss you a lot. Maybe, I can go to Chicago on my summer vacation. Your niece, Suzie

Susan puts the letter down on the counter. Her gritty glittered hands sparkle in the tawny mailroom light.


27. ambition

"We could adopt," Susan says.

"Babies don't save relationships," Kerry says. She takes off the last of her clothes and climbs into bed.

"Do we need saving?" Susan says.

"We might. As soon as it stopped being about us and started being about the baby. I want to have... you for a little longer."

"You can have me as long as you want," Susan says.

"That's what they all say," Kerry says.

"Do you want me to take it back?"

"No," Kerry says. She strokes Susan's hip. "Stay."


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix