Set the Net

Recipes and snapshots of life in Bristol Bay, AK


500 words, no more. Short stories at times desperate to escape, in search of a reader or just single page to be scrawled upon. Below is the first of perhaps more to come…

A Summer evening commute…

Crinkling paper bags with cellophane windows steamed from hot bread inside, surely from the bakery on the corner just above the subway stairs. Callused deeply tanned  hands, clutching the bags tightly and pushing past you to find a seat. Briefly you wonder how he makes his way in the world, your thoughts shift as the smell overwhelms the train car making you acutely aware you have no plans for dinner. Idly you fiddle with your bag, the heat is oppressive and you had to run to make the train. A drop of sweat slides down your back, your dress clinging to your skin. All you can think of is getting home, slipping into the shower before your young son notices your arrival, the bottle of Riesling cold in the fridge. Perhaps the sitter won’t mind lingering an extra 15 minutes so you can rinse the salt from your skin and breathe for a moment before the tales of bugs on sidewalks, elevator rides with strangers, and how there were pancakes for lunch again today begin. It’s then you notice the smell of peaches faint but sticky and sweet next to you. This time of year you are always caught off guard when the market shelfs announce the arrival of summer with pitted fruits ripe, ready to eat. Your chest tightens and you exhale slowly remembering juice dripping down your arm, laughing as wipe your chin with your wrist. Fruit so soft you can hardly hold it for hopes of not crushing it. You offer him a bite, when instead he takes your hand and one by one licks the sweetness from your fingers.You slide off the table where you sit, bare feet brushing the cold brick floor you take his hands in yours sticky and slick. You lean in gently allowing your lips to flit across his. It has been nine years and a world away but he changed everything, taught you to be bold, taught you what is so special about being a woman. He would run his fingers over your hips and trace the edge of your waist as though every inch of you was impressive. He was much older but you would have followed him anywhere had he let you. No; self preservation, that is why you told him it had to stop. You loved him, and in your own way you love him still or the memory of him. He is like a secret place in your thoughts where sultry confidence lingers. And then it’s your stop, people rush to be on their way. Slowly you rise and smile at the woman holding her bag of peaches the moment slipping away as quickly as it came before you depart for home.

Photo by Christopher Baker

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