SmokeLong Quarterly
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by Stephanie Harrison

Sometimes he leaves before she’s awake, and then they communicate via Post-It notes tacked to the alarm system, and today’s note reads, “Lunch?” and she’s not sure what to make of this—in the past she would have known: blue-light specials, they used to call them—and so all morning, as she weeds her garden and picks the last of her tomatoes, she feels uneasy, resentful even—there should, after so many years, be some certainty, she thinks—but when he comes home early from work to pick her up, things seem normal, and lunch is pleasant, and if it’s not quite reminiscent of other past lunches, well, they are a bit older; he wears glasses now, gold wire frames with bifocals, and she has creases along her throat, from nodding too often, or from lowering her head too much, and today, over pecan-crusted salmon, they talk about his job, and their upcoming vacation, and bemoan their neighbors’ barking dog, and that feeling she’d had all morning, that premonition that this would be the afternoon where one or the other of them says that perhaps it’s time they make a change, well, that fades into the cool October light and the mellowness of wine, and for the moment they are happy, she thinks, or at least content, and later, when they are home and he is sitting in his chair facing the television, she takes the initiative—yes, she initiates—and kneels in front of him, rests her cheek on his knees, then slides her hand along his thigh, and he doesn’t move, doesn’t look at her, and in this light, and from this angle, the only thing reflected in his glasses is flickering blue.

"Blue" was first published by the Northwest Review. It appears here by permission of the author.

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2015 by its authors.

Stephanie Harrison has published short fiction in many journals, including Quarterly West, Hayden's Ferry Review, Northwest Review, and the Beloit Fiction Journal. She is the editor of the anthology, Adaptations: From Short Story to Big Screen (Three Rivers Press, 2005), and her articles on adapting stories for film have appeared in magazines such as Poets & Writers. She teaches English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in Columbus, Ohio and an online creative writing course for the University of Florida.

Read the interview.
Issue Twenty (March 15, 2008): The Cockroach by David Barringer «» Trestle by Matt Briggs «» Worried & Wondering by Aaron Burch «» Dead Dog Rising by Kate Hill Cantrill «» Tinder by Chanel Earl «» Scrape by Utahna Faith «» Arlo's Big Head by Stefanie Freele «» Wei-Ch'i by Vanessa Gebbie «» Last Fall by Katherine Grosjean «» David Dreams of Australopithecines by Savannah Schroll Guz «» The Last Stop by Jenny Halper «» Blue by Stephanie Harrison «» Cadet by Tiff Holland «» Slam by Liesl Jobson «» Beret by Darlin' Neal «» Camp by Elizabeth Oliver «» We by Patricia Parkinson «» Seconds Are Ticking By by Nik Perring «» Brother by Sue Powers «» Carol by Sophie Rosenblum «» Elizabeth Bishop by Glenn Shaheen «» Favorites by Gail Siegel «» Blank by Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau «» Medicinal by Girija Tropp «» Interviews: David Barringer «» Matt Briggs «» Aaron Burch «» Kate Hill Cantrill «» Chanel Earl «» Utahna Faith «» Stefanie Freele «» Vanessa Gebbie «» Katherine Grosjean «» Savannah Schroll Guz «» Jenny Halper «» Stephanie Harrison «» Tiff Holland «» Liesl Jobson «» Darlin' Neal «» Elizabeth Oliver «» Patricia Parkinson «» Nik Perring «» Sue Powers «» Sophie Rosenblum «» Glenn Shaheen «» Gail Siegel «» Claudia Smith «» Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau «» Girija Tropp «» Cover Art "Male Figure" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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