Kim Chinquee


He and I, we used to be a cyclone. Now we're just two people, me walking his dog and cooking him surprises. He tells me I don't have to.  I'll do a load of laundry. Pull some weeds. Walk the dog in circles. Lunch.


I live states away. I’m almost on vacation.


He says the stir-fry is delish. I learned it from the guy who, twenty years before, used to be my husband. His divorce is new. Sometimes he calls me by her name. Sometimes I correct him. 

I learned lasagna from a runner who was last in all the races. Mussaka from the Greek guy who couldn’t keep his hands there. Pizza from a cook who burned on the stove. Tater tot casserole from my mother. He seems to like this.


Back then, when we met, he was a city boy, riding bulls in cities calling him a winner. I'd just moved from the farm. We were sixteen, seventeen, eighteen. Twenty, maybe then some.


We eat at his elephant table. It's high, and we have to sit on bar stools. He chews fast, focused on a movie about a man falling in love and then wronged.


He finishes before me, takes his plate into the kitchen. I put in my mouth a piece of my potato, broccoli, maybe a pea.


He has ten minutes to rest. I see his sunburned head. His body, how it's solid. I know he's not asleep. He is on the sofa, next to the dog, and soon I will be scraping.




Kim Chinquee


Kim Chinquee is the author of the collections Pretty and Oh Baby. She lives in Buffalo, New York.

This story was originally published in Issue 1 of The Literarian.