by Dan Crawley  

Bonnie S.                                                                            Sun, Jan 9, 2022, 6:42 PM
To: Joey V.

Hi Joey,

I wanted to send a note to let you know I enjoyed last night. I liked how we talked late. I guess we have a nice connection, right? I hope you noticed it, too. Plus, you are one of the best listeners I’ve come across. Usually others don’t listen to me, really hear me. This has happened a lot with other men. It’s refreshing to be heard. I appreciate you being this way.

I know I was talking a lot about Benny, my next door neighbor. We’re just friends. We like going out in his boat on Lake Pleasant. He’s thirty years older than me, a widower. Like I told you last night. And he’s lonely and misses his wife badly. Sometimes we just sit and fish in his boat. Or sit in his backyard by the water garden he built for her and talk about her or life. Benny likes it when I talk. He’s a good listener, too. Anyway, talking felt easy with you. Like with Benny. I hope you feel the same. You do, don’t you? I guess I don’t want you to get the impression that Benny is a love interest. But he’s a wonderful friend. He’s a cardiologist. He’s retired now and has a lot of time on his hands.

I worried about talking so much about Benny after you left. I couldn’t go to sleep, worrying about it. I’m so silly, right?

Anyway, Benny invited me to go to the lake next weekend. But I’d rather spend my Saturday with you. Sounds like a date?


Joey V.                                                                               Sun, Jan 9, 2022, 6:42 PM
To: Bonnie S.

Dear Bonnie,

I tried to get something more going with you after these two dates we’ve been on so far, but this is not going to work, so I will come right out with it then: I don’t think I can see you anymore; it’s complicated, trust me, and it hurts my head thinking about how I felt after I left you last night, so I guess I owe you an explanation because I could tell while you were talking late into the night you seemed generally interested in me, and yet, as I stated before, my own thinking is muddled, especially when you revealed more about your relationship with your neighbor Bert, my mind wandered horribly, and I confess I wasn’t hanging onto your every word as much as you think but focused on another woman I love desperately, and all I can do is think incessantly about how she’s married to someone else she loves, and I am wrecked because I realized, as you talked, that I love her, and always have, making it absolutely impossible for me to move on with other relationships at this time, and I think you should know that this woman and I started off as good friends years ago, but she moved back east and found another friend and then it turned to more, so your relationship with Baxter, the foot doctor next door, may turn into something more as well, if you don’t crush his heart by moving on with someone else, especially since you both live right next door to each other, and although this woman has kept our friendship going with emails and calls, I realize it’s not enough for me because I love her with everything I am, trapping me in a mire like a muck-covered dog with a broken hind leg. JV.

Bonnie S.                                                                         Sun, Jan 9, 2022, 6:47 PM
To: Joey V.

Did you notice that we sent our emails to each other at the exact same moment? I read yours a few times. I wonder if you read mine? I guess it doesn’t matter. Good luck to you. Sounds like you need it more than me.


Bonnie S.                                                                          Sun, Jan 9, 2022, 6:50 PM
To: Joey V.

I’m going to the lake with Benny this weekend. His name is Benny, not the other names you wrote. He is not a podiatrist, either. Like you wrote. He is a retired cardiologist and knows the heart.


Dan Crawley is the author of Straight Down the Road (Ad Hoc Fiction, 2019), The Wind, It Swirls (Cowboy Jamboree Press, 2021) and Blur (Cowboy Jamboree Press, 2023). His writing appears or is forthcoming in Gone Lawn, Lost Balloon, JMWW, Milk Candy Review, Atticus Review, and elsewhere.

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