Lovers Dive

The veiled dark descends on the lovers.  She peers into his face and his black, almond eyes. Goose bumps explode under her pale skin at his touch, softly running up her arm. Gently he gathers her up, silently dropping kisses on her lips soft as flower petals falling.

“I beat death at the game of life. I’m not afraid,” he whispers.

She turns and dives into the sparkling water, Ron after her. They swim to an artificial island and float, fingers entwined, staring up at the black sky through steamy condensation clouds.

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The man looks at the bandage on his arm and back to the woman, mumbling, and reaches toward a bowl of cold rice.  Soon he is strong enough to walk outside and sit in the sunshine.  Jimo trades baskets for a pair of man’s pants, a shirt and sandals.  He goes with her to collect reeds.  He can carry twice as much as she.  But the words come slowly.  And when they do the dialect is foreign to Jimo.  The man can’t remember anything about the river.  He touches the key on the chain and frowns from the effort of remembering. 

I wish I could remember.  I must be someone.  All I want is to remember!

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Sha Li's List - Best of 2015

Berlin’s sporadic and spasmodic career is traced by citations of stories published in magazines since the 60s onward.  She received the Jack London Short Prize in 1985, the American Book Award in 1991 and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Behind the Scenes Snapshots: Wounds of Attraction

In Rick’s Narcotics Anonymous group, he met a woman about his age.  She was a nurse in a local hospital who became over-familiar with the pill dispensary.  She lost her job and her credentials.  Mary Jo Thompson was divorced with two children in middle school.  She shared custody with her ex-husband who worked for the City of Santa Rosa.  After meetings, Rick and Mary Jo started having lunch together at Taco Bell.  Soon, it became a regular part of their daily routine:  finding enough things to fill the hours to mute the cravings.  Mary Jo listened to Rick’s crazy sounding ramblings about secret agents and his wife’s travels.  Rick listened to her domestic stories.  

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