Third Person
Rebecca Schiff

Rebecca had sex recently, but she forgot. The guy had a flat-screen TV in his room, and a brother, who also had a flat screen in his room. There was a third flat screen in the living room for the brothers to watch together.

Rebecca slept with the smaller but older brother. The younger brother looked up from his flat screen as though, Rebecca thought, surprised that his older brother could sleep with a girl as pretty as Rebecca. Later she found out that he only looked surprised because the brother Rebecca slept with actually had a girlfriend. The look was the "You're not his girlfriend" look. Rebecca had seen it before.

Rebecca had seen it this year, when she slept with a bass player, which caused her to get a neck injury and discover a chiropractor. The chiropractor was young and dated another chiropractor. Rebecca left out that the bass player had a girlfriend, because it didn't seem related to her neck. The chiropractor told Rebecca that her problems were in her whole body.

"You can't separate one part of your body from the rest," said
the chiropractor. "It turns out they're connected."

Rebecca's insurance covered some of the treatment, but not enough to keep going and find out what was wrong.

The guys with girlfriends never told Rebecca they had girlfriends until after they had slept with her. Maybe they detected some moral strain in her, some impetus to protect girlfriends. Maybe they detected the opposite, and were thus protecting their girlfriends from Rebecca. Rebecca wanted to tell them not to worry, she forgot all the sex she had as soon as she had it, she didn't really have it when she had it, and she hadn't for a long time.

Rebecca Schiff lives in New York. "What We Bought" and "Third Person" are from her collection, THE BED MOVED, which comes out Tuesday (Copyright 2016 by Rebecca Schiff. Published by arrangement with Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC).

Detail of art on main page courtesy of Helga Weber.

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