Sept/Oct 2015 • Vol. XXXVII No. 5 FictionSeptember 1, 2015 |

Fleuve Bleu

Midafternoon, late autumn, bars of spangled light on the river, he was crossing the bridge on the pedestrian walkway fluttering with flags when he'd first seen her, not knowing it was her. And the whimsical thought came to him, as such thoughts had often come to him when he'd been younger and had lived alone and walked a good deal by himself in urban places—I will marry her. That one.   Except of course, he was married now. He was long married, by now. The brash young man who walked for hours in cities, tireless, curious, thrilled to be alone, sometimes taking photographs but often to no purpose other than to walk on his quick, restless legs, had long departed. • • She had glanced around in that instant, as if he'd reached out to touch her. A leap of recognition between them like a blade of light on water.   Almost, he'd lifted his hand in greeting. But he didn't know the young woman, and he was sure she didn't know him.   Afterward he would clai

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Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Accursed. Her memoir The Lost Landscape was published by Ecco in September 2015. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

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