Laurie Stone

[FICTION] Living Room

I had sex with Sammy on a couch in the living room of the family that had taken us in, and one New Year’s Eve Sammy and I slipped off to the bed of the parents when they were away. The living room was large. There were two long couches and a coffee table shaped like an amoeba. The people in the family were large, except for the grandmother, who was small as a bird. In 1938, the families of the parents had attended the World’s Fair and stayed in New York instead of returning to Poland. The people in the family were skiers and listened to opera. The grandfather’s medical instruments were housed in a glass case in the apartment of the grandmother. I was 17 when I slept with Sammy, and I knew he did not love me the way I loved him. I see his pout, his eyes with heavy lids, his thin boy’s slouch, his thick hair waving off his forehead. I smell his lanquidness, the cigarettes he inhaled as if he were drowning. The mother knew we had slept in her bed. I said I was sorry. Sammy was the kind of boy we are all looking for. In a small room off the kitchen, we watched TV and ate roast pork with the children, our friends. Sammy and I kind of lived there. On a scarf I have kept is a burn from his cigarette. We rode at the front of the subway, his body pressed against my back. We had all night.

Laurie Stone’s new book of linked stories My Life as an Animal was published this October by Triquarerly Books/Northwestern University Press. She has stories in FenceThreepenny ReviewCreative NonfictionThe OffingNanofictonMemorious, and Open City.

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