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Kim Chinquee

Lent

It's early in the morning and wet tree branches frown. It's almost Good Friday. Mary has just won ten thousand dollars in a drawing. She feels like she's acquired someone's mansion.

She looks inside her fridge and it is empty, save a slice of bread or two. It is raining. Water seeps through a crack in the broken window. She gets a towel from her bathroom, a towel that her sister gave her last December for her birthday. It has a dolphin on it. Mary thinks about the ocean, which she saw once on her honeymoon eleven years ago. She thinks about her husband.

There are bills to pay. She has a job selling cheap insurance. She does not have insurance for herself.

She thinks about her son, Johnny. He is five and she walked him to school this morning. She carried the umbrella. She told him, "I won this silly contest."

"You won?" he said, looking at her with green eyes. He looks just like his father, Mary's husband, who died in a car crash a year ago on Christmas.

"I won ten thousand dollars," Mary said to Johnny, who was splashing in the puddles.

"Is that a lot?" he said.

She watched him walking into school, his boots trailing water down the hallway. He turned back to look at her. She waved goodbye to him.

She would buy him the drum set that he'd said he always wanted. She looked out the window, at the rain. She closed her eyes and she pictured her son drumming, his whole body an emotion.


Kim Chinquee lives in Michigan, where she teaches creative writing. Over seventy of her stories have appeared/are forthcoming in NOON, Denver Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, and others. She attended the Center for Writers, where she completed her novel, Tell Me a Lie. She was Night Train's Fiction Editor, and is working on her second novel, The Sink Tester.

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