SmokeLong Quarterly

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Remembering Elizabeth

Story by Bob Arter (Read author interview) June 15, 2004

They lay on one square meter of plaid picnic blanket, too besotted in each other for the wine and cheese and sausage. Still in their first month of lust, everything she said was a surprise; everything he said was extraordinary. Tony liked—No, I love that! Sarah had delved once into—Oh get out, I studied that in college, and wasn’t it all mad crazy?

Taking her hand, he stroked her palm with his thumb; it dizzied her. Pulse strong at the base of her throat, she pressed her other hand against his chest and, unthinking, squeezed a nipple. They could talk forever; they could scarcely utter a comprehensible word. Ah, Sarah said. Their kiss was in its twelfth minute, wide-open mouths and eyes, they nostril-breathed, each into the other, when they breathed at all.

On the drive to the country, they’d chattered and laughed and both tried not to think about Elizabeth, but she was along for the ride nonetheless. Another thing they had in common, neither said: She was my lover. Tony had worked for her at a dot com that lasted eleven months and perished before the IPO; Elizabeth had dropped him in her haste to leave the building. Sarah stumbled onto her, finally sharing an apartment, before the bitch quit grad school for the dot com. Both sailed like milkweed seeds on a fair breeze to Elizabeth, until she fled.

Inevitably, in all the breathless business of whispered histories, her name had surfaced. Really? I had a fling with an Elizabeth, too—what was your Elizabeth like?



Well, it was only—

And we’ve both had other—

Sarah hoisted her hips to scoot out of jeans and panties. Tony had her nipple now; soon he’d kiss his way down to her blossoming wetness, a bee bent on nectar. As he had with Elizabeth, she thought. I wonder if she and Elizabeth, he was thinking.

Both hearts beat wildly, wilder than they ever had when coupling with another.

About the Author

Bob Arter lives and writes in Southern California. His stuff has appeared, or soon will, in Zoetrope All-Story Extra, The Absinthe Literary Review, Painted Moon Review, Lit Pot, Ink Pot, Night Train, and elsewhere.

About the Artist

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison’s work here.

This story appeared in Issue Four of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Four

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