In the latest issue:

Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Indefinite Lent

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The House of York

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Secrets are like sex

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Caroline Gordon v. Flannery O’Connor

Rupert Thomson

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

How to set up an ICU

Lana Spawls

Making itGareth Reeves
Close
Close

He taught me to say ‘blacks’ without blenching.
At his party I was the only white
but did my waspish best not to notice.
Though a student in my Freshman class,
he was seasoned. He showed me a thing or two.

‘You press this button and look
the antenna goes up,’ taking me for a ride
in his brand-new sports car which flew
along Skyline Boulevard. I bought his old car;
it looked like nothing on earth:

‘I’ve got to sell it quick
for the down payment on my new machine.
By the way, you’ll need this form,’
and he signs his wife’s name.
Next day she phones: ‘I want my car back, see’.

I blink and don’t see. A week later:
‘Keep it. I don’t care, now I’m shot of him.
Know what he said? – “Well, if you wanna send
Gareth to jail, receiver of stolen ...” ’
and it all comes out:

‘He ain’t what you’d call a family man.
Forgot about our baby once and it fell downstairs.
I told him he was kinda careless. He agreed.
Rented himself a love-nest on campus
and used my name as security –

‘Story of my life. Fell for him over and over.
After all, he’s charmin, you’d agree.
He even nicked some frat rat’s tie-pin
to prove he’d been to college. So we married.
Now I’m paying for the whole of his damn
                                                            education.’

Me lamely: ‘At least he’s made the best of it.
I mean the essays he did me were, well, rather
                                                                 good.’
‘Yeah, and you wanna know who wrote them?
Love works in a mysterious way,
as you would say.

‘Anyway,’ she ends, ‘it’s a fine auto.
May look a wreck but it sure goes.
It’ll get you all the way back to lil ol Englan.’

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