Identity Theft

Most men she’s dated seem to want a woman around for contrast, and self-definition. Not a reflection, but a diffraction. She feels that yet again from across the table, another labored first meal, outside seating although too cold for it. The masked staff goofing with each other at their station distracts her. Their banter makes her nostalgic for the time when everyone wasn’t a stranger. He fingers the bowl of olives, a pinkie in the oil. She would never do that – will that suffice? She, in turn, would prefer to be with someone whom she could call a twin, as if misplaced to another family between hospital shifts. Once miraculously reunited, they would recognize each other from the creases on their genes. He’s moved on to the stale bread. She never eats bread – will that suffice? All she wants is true recognition. There was nothing better than a teacher seeing her hand and calling her name.

Jon Fain began publishing fiction in commercial and literary magazines in the 1980s. Thus far in 2020 his fiction has been published by Blue Lake Review, Potato Soup Journal, Molecule and others. He lies low in Massachusetts.

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