Summer 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 1 Fiction |


My therapist suggested I get out and see friends as much as possible, so I said yes when my friend Claire invited me to a bonfire up in Enfield, even though it was eleven degrees and the peak of Omicron and the only people I hated more than myself were everybody else.  My therapist had also told me to do things I enjoyed, and I enjoyed driving in Claire and Aaron’s car, because it was even dirtier than my own car. Cheerios — possibly from their five-year-old’s baby snack container, possibly from their fifteen-year-old’s baby snack container from ten years ago — filled every crevice. Papers were spread all over the floor, school assignments and report cards and tax bills and medical statements, crumpled palimpsests of muddy boot prints in graduated sizes. My feet stuck to the papers, and the air in the car reeked of pot. “Are you sure I’m invited?” I asked from the back seat, as we drove west from Ithaca. “Why wouldn’t you be invited?” Clai

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Melanie Lefkowitz is an award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the New York Post, among other publications. In 2014 she won first prize in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers contest; her winning story, “The Mango,” appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of that magazine. She lives in Ithaca, New York.

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