Fiction from NER 35.1.
They were parked on Union, in front of her place, their knees locked in conference around the stick shift, Janna and Justin talking, necking a little, the windows just beginning to steam. We’d better stop, she said. I should go now. It was 1:00 a.m., a Thursday night turned Friday morning. Squads of drunken students were on the town. So far nobody had passed the car. Hey, take it to a Travelodge, man! Nights like this, that sort of thing could happen—one time a rigid hand had rammed the hood, another time someone had smacked the passenger window a foot from her ear, Justin’s fingers in her hair stopping dead.
I won’t miss this part, he told her.
I really should go, Jus.
Steven Heighton is a novelist, short story writer, poet, and fiction reviewer for the New York Times Book Review. His novel Afterlands (Knopf Canada, 2005) has appeared in six countries; was a best-of-year choice in ten publications in Canada, the US, and the UK; and has been optioned for film. His poems and stories have appeared in London Review of Books, Poetry, Tin House, Zoetrope: All-Story, Best American Poetry, Agni, the Literary Review, London Magazine, and other publications, and have received four gold National Magazine Awards.
Greg Roll says
Steven, you did what no one I know of has done in a short story – compressed the long journey of relationship in which discovery leads to acceptance, respect, and profound love into a a few short hours. I live for stories that offer insight rather than dazzle and I thank you for this gem.
Kara Norman says
Agree, it is beautiful!