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CategoryFiction

 

Goodbye, Annie

It was too hot to be out, but no one complained because our good friend Annie was dead and we didn’t know how to talk about it. We sipped tall cans of sweet tea and ate unshelled peanuts, tossing their crepey husks in a vacant clay pot that once held …

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We Might Forget, But the Fields Remember

Summer is two weeks deep and already itchy with boredom when I suggest we poke around the abandoned house in the field. The bromegrass is half the height of the car and bends in supplication, tips wispy like cobwebs when it brushes our arms. We wade carefully, afraid of broken …

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Beneath the Skin

We were sitting by a stream that runs through a gulley beside my father’s apartment, when he began picking at his thumb. I let it go on for a bit, distracted and listening for my son playing off in the trees, but soon my father was gnawing at it, making …

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Mahjong Tiles

When I arrived at my father’s apartment for dinner, something was wrong. Through his living room window, I could see Guangzhou’s Canton Tower across the street; the light show was beginning—the usual run-through of the colors of the rainbow. Inside, the ceiling fan whirred, and the smell of old newspapers …

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Youth

I ran away with a girl one summer. We stole money from our parents and stuffed our things into a large backpack. Jacqueline had two pairs of jeans, a thin leather jacket, bras, her pairs of red espadrilles, assorted oversized sweaters, and toiletries. I put some shirts, pants, and underwear …

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This is How I Used to Break

When I was twelve, my mother came home early from work one day and caught me sitting on the pantry floor, stuffing my face. Our house rule was I had to ask for food, but at school lunch, Josie—the mean girl in 7D—shouted that my fish sandwich was gross. Embarrassed, …

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Your Son’s Good at Times Tables

I’m sorry, I really am. I know my general demeanor isn’t threatening (sad eyes, nose in book, phone that I neurotically check placed on the tray-table ), but still, I know I can’t look approachable. You’re traveling with your son, but you don’t look like a mum. There’re no lines …

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Transitory

Dad comes home early from work, says he’s taking us out to dinner—not to our usual spot, but to one of those places where they bring you a box of tissues and a bottle of mineral water without asking—to celebrate his visa to America. His friend from Damascus will find …

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Serotiny

Sheila, my upstairs neighbor, sat on the roof deck and flicked her cigarette lighter. Our old brick building has five floors, two units per floor—left, right. I’m 2L. She’s 3R. She wore her bathrobe over a T-shirt and shorts and had on rubber slide sandals with thick knee-high socks. The …

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The Lightning Monster

I think I was still grounded for breaking the A.C. unit while climbing onto the roof last spring, but I might have been grounded for stealing Tanner’s jersey at soccer practice last week, or I might not even be grounded at all. I never knew my freedom status at any …

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