by Bethany Mattone


Today his words assault me. There is no way to dodge them or the emotions they pummel me with. I have never seen him write of me so unabashedly. I almost feel sorry for him. I did not wish this on him - that I should creep into his text the way he has catapulted into mine. Our styles are different. Our ways of handling, feeling - these are not things we share in common. We understand each other’s approach, I think, but we have our own habits to break. I did not mean for his heroine to become me or for me to become her. It both scares and delights me that this has happened. I can tell it is written with this thought in mind “It can be erased. No one ever need know it was there but the two of us.” I fear I won’t make it to publication. But, there is always the hope.


When I look up an hour and a half has gone by. The sun is getting ready to set, the clouds are moving in. I am still wearing my sunglasses but I no longer need them. I was sucked into that world with you and Bobby and myself. I am dropped with a thud back onto solid ground. To the right: the stoic Brooklyn Bridge, straight ahead: the Manhattan skyline (still familiar and no, not depressing), to the left: the Statue of Liberty and the cars moving slowly eastward on the BQE.

I am back. Me, Bethany, sitting here at almost twenty-five short years of age just finished with her second year of law school, just starting to understand importance, just falling for the first time, all over again. Here I am and I am holding this manuscript on my lap and I am in there somewhere and someone has put me there. The worlds are colliding. My cell phone rings. I shut it off. I can't talk to anyone. Not even him.

I could talk to Bobby in these moments, but not Christopher.

(The other night she telephoned and I couldn't speak with her. I evoked her, then denied her)

Which makes me question who I am in this moment. Maybe he is right when he says we skipped something somewhere. Jumped the turnstile to try and make the train so we wouldn't have to wait around for the next one - the one that may never come. Maybe that is part of the reason it works. I, Bethany, am not sure if that is wrong or right, only that it is something I have come to accept.

I, B., understand that it is why this all works and doesn't work and is painful and beautiful and full of vanity and selflessness.

A love riddled with contradictions is love nonetheless.

I have not felt him in what seems like weeks, but can't have been more than four or five days. In some ways it has been a nice respite from all of it. Sometimes I feared it would not come back, but I knew this not to be true.

(I guess I am just self indulgent right now)

And with a bang, not a whimper, the honeymoon is over. The extended period of unabashed confessions of love and romance, of lust.

"moonspit refugee" by Joel Elrod


I went out there expecting the four of us to finally meet.

Bobby, Marcelle, C. & B. all shaking hands, saying hello, maybe hugging. To join and be comfortable in that joining. Or at least to travel side-by-side.

I found only Bobby waiting for me at Denver International Airport. C. was not around. He returned for brief moments in the next 9 days. A look here, a touch there, a tone of voice. Sometimes, when he entered me from on top, I could close my eyes and feel him.

Marcelle and Bobby ganged up on me. They laughed at me, taunted me. What did I expect? A happiness? A continual love? They had routed C. after so many months of giving. It had been easy.

And so I examined my choices.

Some days I let Marcelle take over. Especially in Boulder. Especially in the beginning, when I wanted to leave. And more when the time went by and I realized that Bobby had no intention of joining anymore. Some days, B. did all the talking.

More often than not, when C. was evoked it was in reaction to Marcelle, not B. Then, quickly, B. could take over and spend a few precious hours with C. Marcelle and Bobby receded into the shadows. Just watching.

Battling so many, as they drove the supine lands towards New Mexico and back, how could she expect to win?

Their want of joining over, Marcelle and Bobby just grinned at her vanity from the back seat of the rental car.

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