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The Good Woman
by Sara Levine

art by Gay Degani
art by Gay Degani
I had two coats and I mostly wore one, so I took the other to the Salvation Army and gave it away, which felt good. I didn't miss it. Next day when I was cooking, I noticed the pantry was filled with stuff we never ate—cans of beans, corn, and chili—so I took those to the food bank. That felt even better. Then because I had three chairs and it's only ever me and D who sit at the kitchen table, I took the wobbly-legged chair to the Salvation Army, but as soon as it was done, I felt terrible, so the next day, to set things right, I took a good chair to the Salvation Army. Then D and I took turns sitting in the remaining chair, and I looked around and realized we had dishes, too, that we hardly ever used, so I packed up a box for the Salvation Army too. Next I culled through the books, and the music, and the small appliances, which gave me a satisfaction mingled with relief that I already had things that other people needed. I was just thinking how easy it was to make other people's lives better by, for example, giving away your cheese slicer, when D came home with a cylinder of raw sheep's milk cheese made with cardoon thistle from the historic city of Evora, north of Alentejo. "Slice the cheese with a knife," I said. "I don't want to slice it with a knife; I have a slicer for the purpose." "Don't be fussy," I said, "it works just as well with a knife," and I was about to show him when D grabbed the knife out of my hand—his copy of Dune, he yelled, his popcorn maker, the humidifier, and now the cheese slicer, too? I jumped onto the kitchen chair and said, "Have you lost your mind? Are you threatening me over a fucking cheese slicer?" at which point D put down the knife and wept, having scared himself a little. "It's okay," I said. "Is it okay?" he asked. "Yes, it's okay. You didn't hurt me," I said, but still I was shaken. The rest of that night we didn't talk, and not the next day either, and the following night I waited until he was asleep, and then I put D in a box and took him to the Salvation Army, too.

Read the interview.

Sara Levine's fiction has appeared in American Short Fiction, Nerve, The Iowa Review, Conjunctions, Fairy Tale Review, and many other magazines. Her essays have been anthologized in Best of Fence and The Touchstone Anthology of Creative Nonfiction: 1970 to the Present.

Gay Degani is a staff editor for SmokeLong Quarterly. She has published in journals and anthologies including two The Best of Every Day Fiction editions and her own collection, Pomegranate Stories.

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.

Issue Thirty (December 22, 2010): Eulogy for Maria Mamani, Fire-eater by Ed Bull «» Language Barrier by Thomas Cooper «» A Goblet Falls by Barbara Diehl «» Life Lesson by Damian Dressick «» Yams by Gary Fincke «» How We Handle Our Midnights by Charles Hale «» The Corn by Kathleen Hale «» Amelia by Aubrey Hirsch «» Inside by Ashley Inguanta «» About Things That Are Lost and the Places That Things Get Lost Andrea Kneeland «» The Good Woman by Sara Levine «» Buckaroo by Ravi Mangla «» Her New Friend Jesus by Michael Meyers «» Conjugation by Jen Michalski «» Dairy Queen by Jennifer Pashley «» What Do You Do? by Dariel Suarez «» Up, Up and Away by Art Taylor «» Three Jokes by M. Thompson «» Between Budapest and Dying by Dean Marshall Tuck «» Crash-o-rama! by Chris Wiewiora «» Thirty-Word Story Contest Winners «» Interviews: Ed Bull «» Thomas Cooper «» Barbara Diehl «» Damian Dressick «» Gary Fincke «» Charles Hale «» Kathleen Hale «» Aubrey Hirsch «» Ashley Inguanta «» Andrea Kneeland «» Sara Levine «» Ravi Mangla «» Michael Meyers «» Jen Michalski «» Jennifer Pashley «» Dariel Suarez «» Art Taylor «» M. Thompson «» Dean Tuck «» Chris Wiewiora «» Cover Art "Holiday Wishes" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editors
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