Well. Last week as I was frantically packing for a loooong Thanksgiving drive to Southern California I also managed to submit a short story to Medium’s Fiction Writing Contest. The story is called Shunyata. And I really hope you’ll read it. Then, if you like it, I hope you’ll vote for it. The system is a little tricky, but basically, you read; then you click “recommend.” Here is where it gets tricky. Once you hit recommend, you’re then asked to sign in to your Twitter account. I know–I didn’t have a Twitter account either. As far as I can tell, there’s no way around this but to get one. And then you can vote! (And if you want to follow me on Twitter, I’m @SusieMeserve.)

Here’s a teaser.

On the first Monday of last June my girlfriend Carrie’s mom got diagnosed with end-stage breast cancer and was dead the following Tuesday. It was one of those reverse miracles, an absolute mind-fuck. Me and Carrie flew to her parents’ house in Cleveland for the funeral. It was the first time I’d met her dad. I never met her mom. We didn’t really do parents so much.

“Steven,” Mr. Weathers said to me. “It’s good you’ve come.” I towered over him. Carrie said, “Oh, Dad,” and embraced him. I stood there patting the back of her leather jacket like an idiot, because I didn’t know what else to do.

I had known Carrie for what seemed like forever—two years, by then—but, it turned out, wasn’t, because you don’t really know someone until you’ve seen the photos their parents keep of them around the house. There was Carrie, on the piano, on the mantelpiece, in her dad’s study: blonde, blue-eyed, full-lipped, high cheekboned, a little pudgy. There she was in her band uniform. There she was in fake pearls and a pink taffeta dress at junior prom, smiling behind unfamiliar lipstick, like a little girl playing dress-up. There she was in her parents’ bedroom in a crackled photo with Tommy, her brother who died in a car accident when she was a senior in high school. When pressed, Carrie would say his death was probably what made her stop being a good girl, start smoking, start doing drugs, start wearing leather and motorcycle boots to class. The house in Cleveland suggested wealth and togetherness and wholesome family values, not my Carrie: cocktail waitress, smoker, heavy drinker—into taking long drives and suggesting we stop and fuck on the hood of my car.

Which, as far as I could remember, I had never refused.

And here is a photo of a Thanksgiving table, Southern California style. I hope everyone had a lovely day–I am grateful for many things, and for you, readers.

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