by Mary Grimm

BACK THEN WE used to go out whenever we could, Tracy and I, nights away from all the things that needed to be cleaned: dishes, hands, diapers, floors. We got dressed up and pretended we were still young. We didn’t bother to take off our rings.

Our nights out were episodes in the saga of Tracy, more her story than mine. Tracy at the Tupperware party after smoking a joint. Tracy and the drunk dental students. Tracy who wore eye makeup although she didn’t need it, her eyes wide with the excitement of being on the loose.

The sense of us then, when we were beautiful, the softness of our limbs, bendy and lithe, our hopes for escape, which then meant from our husbands.

All that summer everywhere you went they were playing Peter Frampton, and it was as if we knew him, had maybe gone to high school with him when his hair wasn’t so long and curly. When he was the weird kid who sat in the back of the class and wrote songs instead of math problems and possibly wore glasses.

We put on mascara and sparkly tops although we weren’t looking for sex. We thought we were dangerous, but we weren’t. We thought we were escaping, but we never could.

We were looking for a way to say something to the world with our bodies, something that could not be spoken but might be sung, so we sang along with Peter as we drove out on those nights, the radio on loud, the windows open even if it was cold. The people on the street had to know him as we did. We wanted to inoculate them with his voice and his melancholy. His song trailed behind us in the summer air.


Mary Grimm has had two books published, Left to Themselves (novel) and Stealing Time (story collection)—both by Random House, and a number of flash pieces in places like Helen, The Citron Review, and Tiferet. Currently, she is working on a YA thriller. She teaches fiction writing at Case Western Reserve University.