Mrs. Rosemont
Eleanor Levine

Mrs. Rosemont was always more impressive than her daughter.

Mrs. Rosemont was my speech coach in third grade, and if it weren't for her, I would have slurred my words and tripped over speeches and never made it to the forensics team.

When I was 50 years old, I started dating her daughter Amy, though we had never spoken (but always knew one another).

Mrs. Rosemont said she was a lesbian, but was married to a man, which meant you don't have to be with a woman to be a lesbian.

Amy also believed she was sometimes a lesbian, but would switch her sexual orientation if it became unpleasant.

When I visited Mrs. Rosemont after my breakup with Amy, I chatted with her son, Marcus, who is sweet, cheery, and remarkably kind.

Marcus doesn't care what his old family thinks of his new family or his economic triumphs. That is why he lives far from them.

He hugged me, though I didn't love his sister, or more clearly, she didn't love me, which is why we broke up.

I heard Amy had a new girlfriend, a Hispanic woman, who wore her hair like a lily pad.

She and Amy met over tea, finding their deeper selves in one another.

Amy told people who knew us that we had never dated, had only had "part-time moments," moments that could be recorded in a 30-minute video.

I conversed with Marcus and Mrs. R, but never looked at Amy.

I also informed Mrs. R I had to sell my bike, the one next to me, to whoever wanted it, even for $20, because I kept falling off.

Amy looked at us, knowingly, trying to peer through the conversation.

I avoided her, though part of me was devoted to her (but didn't want to see her with the new girlfriend).

Finally, Amy and the family, including Marcus, were in their car, leaving.

I asked Mrs. R if she'd give me $20 for my bike.

"Louise." She opened the window. "Here's $70." Which was enough money to live on for the week, though Amy was now in the Volvo, with her new lover, and I was just making ends meet.

Eleanor Levine's work has appeared in Hobart, Juked, Fiction Southeast and many others.

Detail of art on main page courtesy of Thiago Fonseca.

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