She pretended to miss him, but really it was like vacation when he was gone. The glimmering auburn cows next door, the rusted iron wheels in the corner of the barn: everything looked postcard. She opened beers in the sun, pouring them into a glass she had hidden in the freezer, an icy extravagance that he might well have enjoyed, though he would have complained about it anyway. Her secrets were not ugly, but they did involve glass: she liked to throw the beer bottles into a heap, then, when it was almost dark, load the shotgun and deconstruct them into shards. And she did not feel dirty doing it; after pulling the trigger not one but three times, she lowered the gun to her side and felt the breeze consume her like a wave. Three time zones to the west, he was looking for comfort, finding it in the smell of lemons hanging on a tree, uncut, unpicked, unpeeled. His vice was to caress not one but three from the sturdy clasp that held them to the leaves, a present for his wife back home, where citrus did not grow.

For more, see our interview with Frances Lefkowitz and read her story Leering at Careful. Or explore more of her writing at www.franceslefkowitz.net and Paper In My Shoe.

Frances Lefkowitz’s flash fiction has been published in Tin House, Blip, New World Writing, Superstition Review, and Memoir Journal. Her book To Have Not was named one of five “Best Memoirs of 2010” by SheKnows.com. Honors include the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Literary Fellowship and special mentions for the Pushcart Prize (twice) and Best American Essays.

Photo Credit: Irena Leite

10 Responses to “Lemons”

  1. Any time I read your flash fiction I am BLOWN AWAY! It hits me in my soul!

  2. maddy moore says:

    girl, you really know how to paint a visual and sensual picture. I was smelling the lemons.

  3. E. Spears says:

    You grabbed me into the scene immediately. I love this chick! She’s having a personal blast while wearing a smile.
    He’s using the universal “3” symbolism, but he admires the color of the lemons that clutch. He seems to want to give her natures’ beauty that has bitterness contained in it’s core. Meanwhile…back at the ranch…she’s using humorous bitter to blow in the wind, wherever it lands. I want to read more of your work ASAP!!!

  4. E. Spears says:

    You pulled me in right away and got me to really like this chick! She was literary having a blast and you showed that. He wanted to give her fruit. 3 is universal. Lemons are admired for their scent, their color, but not always their taste unless small amounts are incorporated with other foods. He clutched. She let every shard go.
    Love it! Love it! I want to read more of your writings NOW!!! LOL!

  5. Thanks, Jody and Kristine! I never quite know what the story is about, so it’s great to read your descriptions!

  6. Kristine Adams says:

    Wonderful work, this. I felt the lift of breeze, the secreted pleasures. My husband isn’t the same since a head-on collision three years ago, and I must carve solo time from him for my own sanity. These words evoke a kind of benevolent kinship, wildness with grace.

  7. Jodi Paloni says:

    I love this story, how it captures marriage love from two perspectives. So sensuous and full in so few words. Just loved it!

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