’72 Skylark, 17

She won’t break eye contact. I have known this woman for less than half an hour. But she has me swimming, in my mind, through old memories. Floating downstream with distant aches and pains. This is enough money to pay a year’s rent. Maybe a year and a half, if I move. Not many other ways to get that kind of money when you’re broken the way I am.

“So, where’s she keeping it?” the brother asks. “Some lockbox somewhere?”

“No,” I say without turning.

“Years without a word,” Miriam says, looking at me and talking to him, “and you do this now? Why bother? Can’t you leave anything in peace?”

The brother snorts. “Well, where, then?”

I feel the tickle of rushing water filling my eardrums and the heaviness of salt water across my back. We took ice baths after games; they always reminded me of distant beaches, places like where Grandad tried to teach me fishing but soon abandoned me to slap waves and build mountains. Places I would have visited more often, if I’d had the time back then. Exhaustion, more than anything, overtakes me.

“Nah,” I say. I pull my blade away from Miriam’s thigh. Her eyes widen; I watch a line of sweat expand along her eyebrow. “I’m out.”

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