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Alex Rawitz

Bayside Queens

      The first thing my father did when we got to the Bayside station was walk confidently in the wrong direction. Because my father had completed this same itinerary multiple times over the past few months while visiting my grandmother as she recovered from a broken hip, I assumed, when he strode across the platform toward a particular staircase, that he knew where he was going. I followed behind him, dazed by the heat.
         At the top of the stairs, my father stopped to take a call. It was my aunt calling. She and my grandmother had spotted us from the parking lot. They watched as we wandered away from them, then called to say that escape would not be so easy.
      My father and I got in the car and muttered our hellos. My grandmother was slumped backwards in her seat while my aunt was hunched forward in hers. I couldn’t see their faces; I couldn’t tell how these faces had changed since the last time I’d seen them.
        “It doesn’t have rye,” my aunt said, squinting into her phone. “What kind of deli doesn’t have rye?”
         “I’m sure it’s on there somewhere,” my father said.
         “It’s not. They have something called club bread. What’s club bread?”

         “It’s like Club Med, but just the buffets.”
         “Very funny. Mr. Funny.”
          My aunt’s eyes flicked toward me in the mirror. I smiled weakly at her.
         “Hi sweetie, how are you?”
         “I’m good, thanks. How are you?”
        “Fine, fine. So hot today. I’ll just make a note. There’s a comment box. Leave comment. ‘Rye bread, please.’”
      We listened to the clacking sounds her phone made as she pressed her index finger to the digital keyboard. These sounds went on for far longer than I’d assumed was necessary to type a message like ‘Rye bread, please.’
         “Who are you writing to?” my father asked. “Western Union?”
         My aunt didn’t reply.
        I noticed that my grandmother, who had not yet said hello to me, was trying to buckle her seat belt. The metal part kept bouncing off the plastic shell, produc-ing a percussive undercurrent to my aunt’s typing. Sunlight glanced off the buckle and beamed itself up into an aqueous blob on the ceiling, which danced around in a pattern analogous to the feeble motions of my grandmother’s hand.
        “Alright.” My aunt put her phone on the dashboard. “Thirty minutes. Good. I’m hungry. You guys hungry?”
         She looked at my grandmother and noticed what she was doing.
         “Here, Mommy, let me. I’ll do that for you. You know that.”
      I watched my aunt’s hands fussing with the seat belt, the pale blur of her pudgy fingers as they clicked the buckle into place.
         “There.” My aunt bared her teeth. “See?”
         “Did I ever do anything right?” my grandmother asked.
         My aunt turned away from her and started the car.
        We drifted through Bayside, a nebulous neighborhood where the commercial boulevards of Queens eased into the fallow fields of Long Island. I stared at the houses by the side of the road, which cohered to neither logic nor each other. Faux-Tudor cottages stood next to dilapidated ranch houses; grimy two-story brick buildings looked out onto garish, gleaming McMansions. I tried to imagine the sorts of dreams that might be harbored by the people living in all these houses, and how long such dreams could possibly last before they were abandoned.
       It was a sweltering, frankly disgusting day, and the air trickling out of the vents next to our knees provided little relief. On the radio, a newscaster’s voice told us that the New York City Triathlon, scheduled for the following day, had been shortened; the competitors wouldn’t have to run and swim quite so far, though the biking portion, for whatever reason, remained unaffected. The voice noted that this was the fourth year in a row that the competition had been at least partially curtailed: once due to heat, once due to the pandemic, once due to thunderstorms, and now again due to heat.
         “Running in this weather,” my aunt said. “Crazy. You guys have enough air back there?”
         My father and I, sweating profusely, confirmed that we had enough air.
       We passed a sprawling building the color of watered-down mustard. It was so obviously a school that my father felt the need to say “I think this might be a school,” to which I offered a neutral grunt, my usual response to his jokes. My father leaned closer to the window, then turned toward my grandmother.
       “That’s where you picked us up from the camp buses. Remember? When we got home at the end of the summer.”
         I saw my grandmother’s head tilt a little to the left, then tilt back again.
         “What?” my aunt asked. “What is it?”
       “That’s where the camp buses dropped us off, and Mommy picked us up. That school.”
       He pointed out the window, but we were already past it, and his finger was now aimed at a row of random houses. He lowered his hand into his lap.
       “I was always amazed,” my father said, “by how much hotter it was in the city than at camp. Out in the country it got hot during the day, but it didn’t seem so bad with all the trees, and then at night it actually got a little chilly. When the buses dropped us off in the parking lot, it was like the concrete had been storing up the heat all summer long. I would step off the bus and the heat would hit me in this big wave, and I’d think, ‘Oh no, this again.’”
      “Mommy probably thought the same thing when she saw you. Didn’t you, Mommy?”
          “Was it there?” my grandmother mumbled. “I thought it was somewhere else.”
         My aunt coughed loudly, then looked at me through the mirror.
         “Did you hear about the man in our building who set his apartment on fire?”
         It took me several seconds to realize that this wasn’t the set-up to a joke.
         “On purpose!” My aunt’s mirror-eyes shined. “This was a few weeks ago, on the Fourth of July. We thought it was fireworks at first.”
         “He was a nut,” my grandmother added. “A bad guy.”
         I was taken aback by the vehemence in her voice. “You knew him?”
         “Never met him,” my aunt said. “Everybody in the building says he was crazy, though. Just some crazy guy.”
         “Did you get his number?” my father interjected.
         “Mr. Funny. You can’t help it, can you?”
         “Doctors have tried.”
        “They’re gonna lock you up with that guy, that nutjob. You can tell your jokes to him. He’d probably like them.”
         “They took him to jail?” I asked.
         “I don’t know, sweetie. I think so. He doesn’t live in the building anymore.”
       For a minute we drove on in a silence interrupted only by the glide of tires over gravel.
       “There were fire trucks everywhere,” my aunt said. “We could see the lights flashing in front of the building. We thought they were fireworks.”
         “You said that already,” my father said.
         No I didn’t. I said that first we thought the fire was fireworks. Then, later, we thought the fire trucks were fireworks.”
        “Why would you think the fire trucks were fireworks even after you realized that someone had set his apartment on fire?”
        “Because there were still fireworks going on, smartass. They don’t cancel the Fourth of July just because some nutjob sets his apartment on fire.”
         “But didn’t you hear the sirens?”
         “I thought they were coming from further away!”
        I tried to stop listening, but there was nothing else to listen to. I knew that my aunt would have been content to talk all afternoon about the chaos that the man had brought into her life for several hours. Directly in front of my face, cornsilk tufts of my grandmother’s hair curled over the back of the headrest, shuddering with each bump in the road.
        We arrived at the apartment complex where my aunt and grandmother lived. As we pulled into the driveway, my grandmother extended a trembling hand and pointed at something past the windshield. From where I was sitting, I could see only the bottom segments of the two massive gray buildings that comprised the complex. Before I could ask my grandmother what she was pointing at, she lowered her hand, or maybe it just collapsed, and we passed into the darkness of the underground garage.
         Down in this garage, a space every bit as solemn and gray as the buildings above us, my aunt retrieved my grandmother’s walker from the trunk of the car. While my father and I stood and watched, she folded out the walker piece by piece, like an assassin assembling a rifle. Then she wheeled it around to the front of the car, opened the passenger-side door, and helped guide my grandmother’s feet down to the ground.
        In the flickering fluorescent light, I saw my aunt and grandmothers’ faces for the first time that day. I was surprised, even if I shouldn’t have been, by how old they both looked. My grandmother, always a petite woman, had collapsed further in on herself, withering down to a husk, while my aunt, plump and ponderous all through my life, had ballooned even further outward. In the set of her jowls and the lines around her eyes I saw, more vividly than I had ever seen before, her resemblance to my father, though I still couldn’t see, perhaps only because I didn’t want to see, her resemblance to myself.
      We progressed painstakingly across the concrete, my grandmother lurching forward while my aunt and my father hovered on either side. With every step my grandmother took between the car and the elevator, I imagined her stumbling, sliding in slow motion to the ground. No more than a year earlier she had walked without any aid; then, after more than nine decades on earth, her body had betrayed her, laid her low, brought her to this.
     I couldn’t go more than a few seconds without imagining her dead. I wondered how long she ever went without thinking about it. I wondered whether she even tried not to anymore.
       As soon as we got in the elevator, my grandmother sat on the pad in the center of her walker, which I hadn’t realized until then was a seat. When the doors opened at our floor, she nodded at my aunt, who began pushing her down the beige carpet. I was glad that my grandmother would always have a place to sit when she got tired—that she would, like a snail, carry her source of comfort along with her as she crept slowly through the world. But the sight of her being pushed like that, my aunt gasping for breath as she guided her mother the way her mother had once guided her, made me want to look at absolutely anything else.
       My father and I entered the apartment first, then stood on the far side of the living room as my aunt helped my grandmother switch from the first walker, with its seat and its braking system, to the austere metal walker she used to get around the apartment. My father pointed at the two tennis balls muffling the prongs of the apartment walker. For some inexplicable reason, these tennis balls were two different colors.
         “You couldn’t get matching balls?”
        My aunt was bent over, helping my grandmother step over the rug. Her chest was heaving. I could see blood pooling behind the skin of her face.
         “Were they cheaper that way?” my father asked. “Did you get them on sale?”
          She stood and turned to him, gasping for breath. “Do you ever shut up?”
      With an exhalation of rusty air, my grandmother slid into her armchair. We relaxed to the degree that the situation allowed. I think we all assumed, by some faulty logic, that my grandmother was less likely to die in an armchair than out in the liminal zone of the garage. Or maybe we just knew that it would be easier if she died here with us—away from the world’s prying eyes, hidden behind closed doors.
         “Okay,” my aunt said. “Anything to drink? Water, soda? Mommy? Anyone?”
       My grandmother and I asked for water. My father sat down in an armchair next to my grandmother and asked for scotch, prompting a scowl from my aunt.
       I sat on the couch opposite them and surveyed the living room, which seemed, even as I fixed it in my vision, like a space already in the process of being forgotten. Despite a floor-to-ceiling window that faced out onto a small balcony and the courtyard between the complex’s totemic buildings, some paradox of physics prevented the room from getting much light. A few of my father’s paintings hung in the gloom along the far wall, directly behind his head. He’d started taking classes after I left for college as a way to fill his suddenly unstructured time, yet in all those years he hadn’t gotten any better. No matter the model—male or female, young or old, fat or thin—he always managed to capture their face in such a way that it looked not only like every other model he’d ever painted, but like some mutant version of his own face.
     Having dispensed our drinks and my grandmother’s pills, my aunt heaved herself down upon the couch beside me, then pulled out her phone and held it disquietingly close to her eyes.
        “Let’s see where we’re at with the deli. Five minutes, not so bad. Just enough time to get settled before I have to get up again.”
         “I can help with the food,” I said.
         “That’s okay sweetie. Sit, please, just sit. It’s so good to see you. How’s work?”
      Her question surprised me. I realized that between being shepherded to an unfamiliar location in the backseat of the car, the crankiness engendered by the heat, and trying to make sense of a boring, disheartening situation, I had lapsed back into an emotional state that was something like childhood. I had forgotten that I was what most people, myself sometimes included, would have considered an adult.
        Though my work didn’t interest me, and I doubted that it would be of much interest to anyone else, I lapsed happily into my spiel. Even the most mundane conversation made for safer territory than my earliest, most enduring memory of family life: all of us sitting together in one or another room, gazing silently at various spots on the floor or the walls, counting down the minutes until propriety permitted us to stop pretending we liked each other.

   I was in the middle of explaining my latest work project when my grandmother began fidgeting.
         “I have to go,” she said to my aunt. “I have to go.”
    Before I could figure out what was happening, my aunt unfolded the apartment walker and guided my grandmother out of the room. It should have dawned on me immediately that my grandmother was talking about the bathroom, but I was thrown off by the fear in her voice, which seemed to portend something far worse.
        As soon as they were gone, my father rose from his chair and walked toward me. I thought he would stop and say something, but instead, after placing his hand on my shoulder and offering a half-hearted squeeze, he continued another few steps to the window, where he stood staring out at the overcast sky. Sounds of rustling clothes and muffled voices drifted in from the other room.
         “There,” my father said.
        I joined him at the window.  Halfway down the other building, along the seam where one wing of the structure folded into the other, were two boarded-up windows, a pair of wooden slits amid a thousand glass eyes. Scorch marks emanated outward from these empty sockets, tracing the shape of the flames.
         We stood there for a while before my father spoke.
         “If I lived here,” he said, “I’d try to burn it down, too.”
      We spun around. My aunt was walking alongside my grandmother, both of them staring haggardly in our direction.
         “What’d he say?” she asked me.
        “Just a dumb joke,” I said. I glanced at my father, waiting for him to confirm my lie, but he was still staring out the window.
        As my aunt eased my grandmother back into her armchair, the doorbell rang. While she hurried off to answer it, my father sat back down beside his mother. I remained standing until my aunt bustled back into the room with bags of food. I made as though to help her, moving my arms but not my feet. She shooed me away almost angrily.
         “Sit. I’ll handle it. It’s fine.”
     The three of us sat and watched my aunt take the food out of its plastic pouches, put it on various plates, and place these plates on the counter of the kitchen island. Every now and then I glanced across the room at my grandmother. I was still trying to comprehend just how tiny she had become. Ensconced in her armchair, her feet barely touched the floor.
         “Okay,” my aunt said. “Come and get it.”
       My father and I served ourselves while my aunt brought a plate over to my grandmother and refreshed everyone’s drinks. She sat down on the couch with a smaller sigh than last time, then immediately sprang up again.
        “I should put it away,” she said, more to herself than us. “Put it in the fridge. Don’t let it sit out too long.”
        We watched her trudge back into the kitchen and begin placing the food into Tupperware.
         “Are you sure you don’t need help?” I asked.
         “I’m fine. Sit. Eat.”
        I looked at my father and my grandmother. They lowered their gazes to their plates.
        I began to eat. From the first bite of my pastrami sandwich, I felt that I was consuming some basic structural unit of my childhood. Yet something, an elusive element, had changed; there was a certain taste, a stray note beneath the peppery bark and the unctuous meat, that I couldn’t quite place.
       My aunt rejoined us in the living room. She and my father began discussing adults they had known during childhood, family friends or distant relatives who were now on the decline.
         “You remember Carol?” my aunt asked.
         “No. Who was she again?”
“Mommy’s friend on 193rd, the cul-de-sac. You were friends with her son, Michael.”
 “Michael I remember. He was no friend of mine. That was one dumb kid. He stank, too.”
         “Such kindness we hear from you. Such goodwill.”
         “You never had to smell him.”

       “Forget how he smelled. His mother, that’s Carol. Do you remember Carol’s cousin Bunny, over in Kew Gardens?”
         “I don’t even remember Carol. How am I supposed to remember Bunny?”
         “She’s in a nursing home now. Bunny, I mean.”
         “Then why’d you start talking to me about Carol?”
     Rather than his usual tone of faint mockery, my father seemed genuinely annoyed. I knew that it wasn’t worth getting annoyed over a nonsense conver-sation like this one, but I also knew that his annoyance wasn’t really about the conversation, and that, if I were in his shoes, I would be annoyed too.
       “We knew Carol better,” my aunt explained. “I didn’t think you’d remember Bunny on her own.”
         “I don’t remember either of these people. What do I care about their lives?”
     My grandmother was tearing up strips of turkey and draping them over crumpled balls of bread, as if intent on reassembling her sandwich in ever-smaller iterations. If not for a pale ribbon of meat hanging from the corner of her mouth, it wouldn’t have been clear whether she had actually attempted to eat anything.
    Bunnys ninety-four now,  my aunt was saying. She just had a hip replacement too, right, Mommy?”
     My grandmother’s jaws worked up and down. The strip of turkey flapped against her lips.
       “I spoke to Rachel, Bunny’s daughter, on the phone,” my aunt continued. “She says that Bunny’s doing well, that life in the nursing home agrees with her. Apparently there’s a ‘cool’ table in the cafeteria—you know, a table where everyone tries to sit, like in high school. I thought that was funny. I guess some things never change.”
     My aunt said all this with her mouth hanging open, revealing hillocks of indiscriminate deli mush. It was clear that she had nothing to conceal from my father and my grandmother, whom she had known all her life, or from me, whom she had known since the day I was born. I didn’t understand why, when I’d also known all these people for all of my life, I felt that whenever I was around them I could be anyone except myself.
  “Still,” my aunt said, “with the hip and all, Bunny’s not moving around too well.”
         “She can’t hop anymore,” my father said.
       The instant he said it, my father’s eyes began to sparkle knowingly. My aunt laughed despite herself. My grandmother laughed too, sending the strip of turkey swaying back and forth. Seeing everyone laughing, the child in me felt comforted. I felt, despite my better instincts, that everything would be alright.
         “What about Carol?” I asked.
         My aunt stopped laughing. “Oh, Carol died years ago. Right, Mommy?”
         My grandmother shrugged.
         “She’s dead,” my aunt assured me.
     In the silence that followed, I took a bite of my sandwich, still trying to identify that mysterious flavor. After a while, my aunt spoke again.
      “It’s good that Bunny doesn’t move around too much,” she said. “You’re not supposed to move around too much after a hip replacement. You’re not supposed to get up in the middle of the night and come into your daughter’s room to watch her sleep.”
         The three of us stared at my grandmother, who stared at the floor.
         “That’s not okay, Mommy. That’s dangerous.”
     In that moment, apropos of nothing, it dawned on me. Because of all the occasions on which I’d eaten pastrami sandwiches in rooms that were never aired out, rooms grown stale with the passage of time, I’d come to associate the taste and texture of these sandwiches, the sensation of rye bread clumping between my teeth, of shards of dry meat splintering around my tongue, with chewing a mouthful of dust.
      I stood up, nearly knocking the remains of my sandwich to the floor. My family looked at me without moving their heads. They just rolled their eyes around in their skulls.
         “I have to use the bathroom,” I muttered.
        As I walked out of the room, I heard my aunt calling after me. “Use mine, not Mommy’s. The one further down the hall.”
         Upon entering my aunt’s bedroom, my eyes were drawn to a photograph that she had printed out on a piece of paper and taped to the wall above her nightstand. The photograph showed my aunt with my uncle, who had died eight years earlier. They were on a boat, the wind whipping their hair back from their thumb-like faces.
        My uncle had been a large, loud man, loathsome in every respect save for the kindness with which he treated my aunt. After meeting when they were both in their late forties, they’d culminated their swift courtship with a fairytale wedding in Northern New Jersey that neither of them could afford. Five years later my uncle achieved his lifelong goal of eating himself to death. He left to my aunt a battered Jeep Grand Cherokee, a parcel of debt, and a warning about the frailty of the love that she’d spent her whole life trying to find.
        All this passed through my mind the instant I saw the photograph. Then, as if I were reading the words off a page, I thought of the phrase ‘fat piece of shit’. I whispered this phrase to the photograph. My aunt and uncle smiled back at me from the boat.
       When I returned from the bathroom, I sensed a subtle shift in the air. My aunt was staring at my father, who was avoiding her gaze.
      “So nice of you to come out,” she said. “Glad you could grace us with your presence.”
         “Don’t start,” my father said.
         “So thoughtful, remembering we exist.”
        “I come here every other week. I talk to Mommy on the phone every Friday, two on the dot. Not a minute late.”
         “You’re not here. You don’t see what I see.”
         “Thank God for that.”
      “The Golden Child, blessing us with his weekly phone calls. Waah, waah, waah. Whatever you want, you get.”
         “You think I want any of this?”
        “So funny, he’s so funny. Even now you’re making jokes. The joker. That’s you.”
         “Does that make you Batman?”
         “You can’t help it, can you? It never ends. My whole life, these jokes.”
         “But seriously folks, try the veal.”
         “But seriously folks, fuck you.”
        My father looked at me, seeking my help. I couldn’t meet his gaze. The truth was that, at least to some degree, I agreed with my aunt. Every time I visited my father I found myself increasingly annoyed by his constant barrage of jokes, his compulsive stream of references to things I no longer cared about or understood. At some point in what could only be considered my adulthood, I’d realized that his jokes, which I’d always found funny while growing up, had seemed that way to me not because they were funny, but because I’d been a child.
        My grandmother leaned forward, over her little balled-up crumbles of food, and stared intently at me. “Did it get brighter in here?”
         The window showed the same pale gray sky as before. From the corner of my eye I saw the gash of the burned-out apartment.
         “I can see your face,” she said, still staring at me. “I couldn’t before.”
         I glanced at my father, who looked away.
         “You live so far from us,” my grandmother said. “Far, far away.”
        I stared at the empty plate in my hands. After a miniature eternity, I heard my aunt cough.
         “Alright,” she said. “What’s the plan?”
         “Maybe I’ll jump off the balcony,” my grandmother said.
         My aunt and my father hushed her, though not very emphatically.
       “Please don’t say that again,” my aunt whispered. Her voice was quiet. I was sure that I was the only one who heard her.
     While my father checked the train schedule, my aunt prepared bags of leftovers for us to take home. As if nothing had happened, they resumed their conversation about people they’d once known. My grandmother stared at them, holding her head in her hands.
        We repeated, in reverse, the process that had brought us up to the apartment: the switch of the walkers, the wait for the elevator, the tentative progression through the echoing garage. This time my grandmother sat on the walker for the full journey. My aunt pushed her along, stopping occasionally to catch her breath, while my father and I stood off to the side, watching.
        During the drive back to the station, we listened to the radio again. The voice of a newscaster was telling a story about a viral TikTok prank, which evidently consisted of aiming a certain brand of realistic-looking water gun at someone, then pulling the trigger. The newscaster informed us that somebody had tried this on a cop. A new voice, the wiseacre sneer of a police sergeant, stated that the officer was unharmed, and the suspect was in custody. Then the newscaster’s voice came back to mention that on the same day the officer was inconvenienced, someone else had tried this gag on a different man, a civilian, who had promptly shot the would-be prankster to death.
        When we passed the school, children from some summer program were filtering out through the gate. I watched them chasing each other, their smiling mouths emitting inaudible laughter. The sun was coming out; the clouds were being burnt up, fading away. Glancing at my father, I saw that he was still staring at the school. He even shifted around as we passed it, so that he could continue staring through the rear windshield as the school got smaller and smaller and then disappeared.
         We arrived at the station early and lingered silently in the relative comfort of the car. Outside, two men were crouching beneath the overhanging ceiling of the waiting area. Another man walked by, scratching first one arm, then the other.
       With five minutes left until our train arrived, my father and I got out of the car. It occurred to me, as it occurred to me every time I parted ways with my grandmother, that this might be the last time I ever saw her. I felt, as I felt every time, that even if I knew for a fact that this was the last time, I would still long to get away. I would still feel that saying even a brief goodbye was less important than being free of the obligation to say such a thing.
        I told my aunt and my grandmother that I loved them, and they told me the same thing. They told me that they would see me soon, and I told them the same thing. I embraced my aunt, then my grandmother, and then the car doors closed and their faces disappeared behind bleary, sun-streaked glass.
         As my father and I walked down to the tracks, I felt a need to say something, to offer an apology for getting off easy with a single visit, for not suffering alongside him all this time. I had been selfish, aware only of my own little reality, just as I was aware, even as I castigated myself, that I would soon sink blissfully back into that reality, discarding all my hard-won revelations.
      We arrived at the platform and stood in a patch of shade. I watched our fellow travelers, their faces all craning toward the direction from which the train would come.
         “I’m sorry,” I said. “This must be really difficult for you.”
         I patted my father’s shoulder. My hand came away wet with his sweat.
         “I hope you don’t remember me like that,” my father said. “When I’m older, I mean. When I’m the way she is now. I worry about that. I worry that when the time comes, you won’t be able to remember how I was before.”
       I tried to think about how I remembered my father when we weren’t together, but it was hard to do with him standing right in front of me.
         “How do you remember her?”
         As he considered the question, my father’s face became very serious.
       “You know the school we passed? The place where I used to get dropped off from camp?”
         I nodded.
       “I remember her the way she was then. Standing in the parking lot with all the other moms, waiting for me. She was so young—she was just your age when she had me, maybe even younger. She was prettier than the other moms. I don’t mean that in a weird way. I just mean that she stood out, you know? I was always a little proud of that.”
         My father looked at me. I didn’t look away.
       “I can still see her there, waiting for me when I got home at the end of the summer. I can remember exactly how I always felt: sad that camp was over, scared about how school would start soon. On the drive home I would act all pissy toward her, a real little shit, but deep down I knew I was happy to see her again. Deep down I knew I’d really missed her.”
     The rumbling noise that had been building behind my father’s words now drowned them out entirely. We turned and saw the train approaching, disgorging steam into the humid air. Before I could say any of the things that I didn’t know how to say, my father began walking toward the edge of the platform, and I once again followed behind him. I heard the hum of the sliding doors, felt a rush of coolness, and then we were climbing aboard, stepping carefully over the gap beneath our feet.

Alex Rawitz was born in New York City and now lives in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in Monday Night Lit, Streetlight Magazine, Silk Road Review, and Half and One, and is forthcoming in Allium. He does his best to read and write every day.

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