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people under these circumstances tend to carry things off. As she prepares to leave the room, she catches sight of herself in the mirror, the wide face and high, pure forehead, the daughter of an acclaimed urologist, waiting still, at age twenty-eight, for someone to hand her life instructions. The place is filling up with guests pushing toward a makeshift bar, a table protected by a simple white cloth where shot glasses of tequila are lined up in rows. She stands next to a man in sunglasses and the same uniform as the boy in the photo, his arms crossed over his chest. The name on his jacket reads “Sergeant Morrison.” “You a member of the family?” he asks, glancing at her. Hipless and freckled from the sun, his reddish hair lies flattened from his cap. She picks up a shot glass and glances around at the mostly Hispanic crowd. “Do I look like I’m a member of the family?” She downs the tequila. “Nope. You look like an Icelandic princess.” She feels the heat in her face, wondering if he’s mocking her. They both move on to a table with platters of ham and tamales and chili rellenos. He has a greedy way of scooping up handfuls of chips, forcefully dipping them into the guacamole. “I guess you might say he was family.” There’s guacamole on his chin. “We were in the same unit.” He stuffs a napkin into his shirt collar. “Where was that, Sergeant?” “Kandahar.” “Kandahar. Wow. I’ve never known anyone who’s been in the war.” He stops chewing. “You saying you didn’t know Manny?” “Manny?” Kate stands there, smiling a bright, vague smile, as though she can’t hear a thing. She gropes in her bag for a cigarette, then thinks better of it. “I knew this girl once, when I lived in L.A.,” he says after a pause, “her name was Elizabeth. Went to a fancy school. Maybe you went to that school. She had scars on her wrists, same as you. Sometimes this girl, Elizabeth, she’d ride the bus late at night, let strangers feel her up there in the dark.” SHIRLEY SULLIVAN

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Profile for Carolina Quarterly

Carolina Quarterly 68.2 Spring/Summer 2019 Sneak Peek  

Carolina Quarterly 68.2 Spring/Summer 2019 Sneak Peek