Fiction - Summer 2018

Normal Life

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By Olivia Clare

June 4, 2018


 

At last the water went down as our mother said it would. Lona and I went out into the dark street to catch and throw the lopsided ball we’d kept up high. After her fifth expert catch, Lona took on a far look and stretched out an arm and pointed.

“Look there,” she said. “That lady.”

I turned. A tall woman in green, buckled shoes. Her clothes were dry, and her waist-length, white hair was wet.

“Just leave her alone,” I said, throwing the ball back at Lona. “She’s not hurting anybody.”

“Well, she’s staring at me,” said Lona.

I looked back to the lady, and Lona was not lying. I was three years older and there to protect her, though sometimes she did lie.

“She’s not bothering you,” I said. “Leave her alone.”

“I will if she does.”

I caught the ball with my signature eyes-closed catch, then opened them and looked back again. The lady would not leave us. I did not want to speak to her but did.

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Olivia Clare is the author of a book of short stories, Disasters in the First World, and a collection of poems, The 26-Hour Day. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Southern Mississippi. A few lines in this story are indebted to Lucie Brock-Broido’s poem “Soul Keeping Company.”


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