Clare, Loving


From “Sylvie
Clare watches the weather map, and then presses the off button on the remote and holds her legs out in front of her, tightening her quads, wondering if they’ll stay strong forever. She pulls her legs under her in the chair. She’s so ready to go. She has her suitcase packed. She’s had it packed for a month. She put in enough clothes for a week—two weeks if she washes her underwear. And a china cup for the baby. A book of Beatrix Potter. A silver dollar. A black and white toy that’s meant to be educational. A lavender dress with eyelet . . .She’ll have to give it away now, that perfect, little dress. Read more…

More “Sylvienew
Clare was totally stunned when Sylvie came home at spring break her senior year sporting a ring and announcing that she and Jack planned to get married at the end of June.

“Really? June?” Clare said, and Sylvie asked if there was anything wrong with that.

Clare had suppressed her real answer (that soon? are you sure? oh, Sylvie) and hurried into her reply. “No, I’d just imagined you as—well, say a November bride.” Read more…

From “The Beautiful Ships”
Clare walked to a table by the wall and sat down, aware there was no hurdy-gurdy sound of carnival music, but only the murmur of the bar crowd. She checked her bag for her billfold. She flexed a sandaled foot against the table leg. Read more…

More “Beautiful Ships
Shotgun houses in mint and yellow. The airiness of bread. In spite of the mix of greens and spices and seafood or sausage, the opaque taste of gumbo. Following behind Anthony on one of his hug-filled catchup visits, Clare had listened to a recipe that included cayenne and dandelion tops, and things she was unfamiliar with like arugula and pepper grass (if you could get it). Read more…

From “The Nuns on the Roof of St. Peter’s”
One by one, her classmates entered their pews. A baby cried. The eighth grade girls rustled their music, ready to start their song to Mary, and Clare shivered inside herself. She was not pure, not fit. And, too, she lacked faith. In her pride, she had seen Father Etienne as a man instead of a priest. Read more…

More “Nuns
Sister Mary Andrew thumped her hand on Clare’s desk. She was puffy behind her glasses. “I didn’t ask you for numbers. I didn’t think you were a child to make fun. Is this something to do with your background? With your mother being Protestant?”

“No, Sister.” Clare didn’t want them to, but her knees had started shaking under her dress so the lines of the plaid jumped. “About the ocean?” she repeated. Read more…

Audio Excerpts Read by Emily:
From “Sylvie
From “The Beautiful Ships

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