Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of
Volume 9, Number 1
Copyright © 2014
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to
in the Apple Valley
Review are retained by
the individual authors
Fiction by Beth Konkoski
I remember how we touched eventually, all our skin, only a few clothes
to remove since it was summer, too hot for tennis or spoken love. But we
met on the court because you left a note on my windshield; Courts at 4.
And beside your name a quick sketch of a racquet, a speech bubble—meet
me. I wanted to be a bit late, minutes for you to wonder if I would show,
but it hadn’t worked. At 4:15 you parked your car, and I had to pretend I
had just arrived. We knocked at the ball despite the heat. You practiced
your big serve to measure out your strength and left a deep bruise on my
thigh. I lost on purpose, ignored the pain, smiled to stay with you, and hoped
there was time planned for afterwards. We took your car to a second-floor
apartment just off campus, the back of an old college town Victorian. You
weren’t living there, just squatting in a friend’s rental—a temporary thing,
like the summer’s warm, guzzled beer.
You placed me on the porch floor scratchy with sand. Magazines
stacked and leaning by an old couch, I thought of all the advice columns and
articles almost at my fingertips. Still dressed, we explored around our clothes.
Your lips just brushed the space between my neck and shoulders, hot breath
on hot skin, until I lifted my t-shirt overhead. A lawn mower stumbled alive,
and a June bug hit the door’s screen again, again, again. I wanted to be
bored by it all, but wasn’t. Breezes shifted the bamboo blinds. Your body
moved above me, light and dark, empty, full, forward and back, a deep rush
I knew even then was just the sun’s clever trick of time.
Beth Konkoski is a writer and high school English teacher in Northern
Virginia. She has had fiction published in Story, Mid-American Review,
The Baltimore Review, and other literary publications. Her chapbook
of poems, Noticing the Splash, is available from BoneWorld Press. She
lives with her husband and two teenage children.
On “Thirty Love”:
“Thirty Love” is a piece that I discovered when chance encounters
were on my mind. The sense that two people can experience the
same moment of intimacy, but layer it with entirely different
emotions, is interesting to me. I liked the idea of tennis and winning
when placed beside this couple since they are not really a couple.
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