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Today's Story by Dan Forward

I drive first to the liquor store to buy some wine. Not too nice but better than the stuff from the box she and her friends must get whenever it is they have some.

Your Sister

I open the door and step out into the night. It’s one of those summer nights that’s the same temperature as the day was but a sundown breeze is coming in off the water that makes being here worth it, for a little while. I dial the number on the napkin in my pocket and get an answer on the third ring.


“Hi, is this Sam?”

“This is Samantha, who is this?”

“This is Richard, from earlier.”

“Oh yes. You didn’t tell me your name before, and I couldn’t remember it.”

“Ha ha. That’s alright. It’s been a long time. So—did you still want to get together tonight?”


“I can pick you up in a little bit. Where do you want to go?”

“No, let me walk. It’s a small town. We’ll go to the park.”

“The park? Well, alright. Say, an hour?”


“Would you like me to bring a drink?”

“I’m not—”

“Don’t worry.”

“Then yes. I’ll have anything. Anything’s fine. And sorry about that name thing. I was really young last time I saw you.”

I drive first to the liquor store to buy some wine. Not too nice but better than the stuff from the box she and her friends must get whenever it is they have some. I stop my car across the street from the park and sit there drinking from the bottle for a minute while looking at the harbor next to me. Then I walk toward the park and try to spy this girl, but I can’t. I consider calling her again but then she appears out of the dark to take my arm. She slides her hand down and tangles her fingers in mine and leads me back to a bench. It’s so dark that I can see her face clearly only when I come very near to it but otherwise she is vague and shadowy. I can smell that she started drinking already.

“Hello again,” I say. “I left this town so long ago. I haven’t seen this park in ages.”

“Yes, you’re pretty old,” she says in one exhale. She traces something on my back with her fingernail.

“I’m beginning to realize that,” I say. I am not moving.

“Do you have something to drink?” I nod and give her the bottle. She takes it from me, takes a sip, and then another, and licks her lips. She passes it back to me and I drink more. Neither of us has anything to talk about, so we just go on drinking for a while, and she leans her head on me. In the dark she is prettier. She has Asian eyes even though she isn’t Asian, and she has thick brown hair. She is wearing a tank top and cutoff jean shorts. She stands up and tosses the cork away. When she sits back down she doesn’t sit on the bench but on my lap. I wrap my arms around her slowly.

The bottle is nearing half-gone when she says “my sister—she’s married now, you know.”

“Yes, I heard that.”

“She doesn’t live here anymore. She moved away with her husband.”

“I know.”

“It’s just me here.”

“I understand.”

“I’ll bet something like that doesn’t ever stop you.”

“Something like what?”

“When a girl is married.” She shifts on my lap. “Are you married?”


“Would you tell me if you were?” I look at her. She runs her fingers through my hair for a moment and then down my face.

“I think so.”

“What about money? Are you rich?”

“Only in name.”

“No. Seriously.”

“I was poor when I left. Now it’s enough—now I have—now I can stay away.”

“Hm. That does not make any sense.”

My palms are sweaty, so I move one hand to her hip and the other to the part of her thigh covered by the shorts. She doesn’t acknowledge this. She smells different, but it’s nice. I wonder briefly why she is here, and how drunk she is.

“Are you always going to be here? Are you going to leave someday?”

“I might leave someday.”

“Someday soon?”

“Maybe someday soon.”

“I might leave tomorrow. I probably will. This is the first time that I have been back in a long time.”

“Oh. You said that before.” She sways a bit now and I feel very tired. I can’t feel her weight on my lap any longer. Crickets are buzzing, I think. I lean into her but my lips only touch her shoulder in the dark. She puts her arms around my neck and her breasts push softly into my cheek.

“Your sister.” I am whispering, practically. “What does she do now?”

“She does something with executives?” She sits up straight, then grabs the wine bottle and begins to drink again.

“Sorry—what do you do?”

There’s a silence. Then sternly, “I work at the ice cream shop.”

“I know, but what do you want to do? What are your passions?” I feel my sensibilities running away from me, and I chase after them. She drinks more wine. “Maybe you should stop—not do that now.” I reach for the bottle. She jerks it away roughly and falls off my lap and has to step onto the ground. I stand up and take her by the waist, looking down into her face, though I can hardly see it. I don’t know what she wants. I bring her in closer to me, pressing her head against my chest. Her breath is short, or maybe mine is. The park is noisy with the crickets, and the sea on the rocks in the harbor, and the cars that are still strolling past even though it seems very, very late to me. My head aches already.

“I don’t want anything,” she says. “I’m happy here.”


Dan Forward majored in English literature and minored in pretentiousness at Boston College before going on to Suffolk Law School to learn something practical. His humor column on MySecretBoston.com has been described sarcastically as “funny,” and his dour fiction has appeared in Fogged Clarity and Eunoia Review.


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