He tried to say more but hit a wall; his thoughts blended into the din
of the bistro. Marilyn eyed him with a look that mirrored her habitual
declarations of “Oh, Arnold.”
But she didn’t say it. Instead, she said, “Then you sense it too.” Her
tone sounded relieved, almost resigned.
“It’s Shirley,” she said. “I guess I thought she’d bind us together—look
over us like an angel. But I feel as though she’s always going to be be-
tween us. That I’m betraying her.”
Damn, Shirley. Of course, it wasn’t Shirley. Not like that.
“Does that mean . . . ?” he asked.
Her gaze fell away from his; her fingers toyed with her napkin ring.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
If only she’d known the truth. But to say anything now—he’d sound
like a lunatic.
Marilyn stood up and gathered her bags. “I’ll call you,” she said. “Oh,
And then she vanished through the bistro and into the urban ether,
leaving Kappelschnitzer to endure the solitary life of a widower.
Jacob M. Appel
Jacob M. Appel is the author of four literary novels, including
Millard Salter’s Last Day (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, 2017), nine
short-story collections, an essay collection, a cozy mystery, a
thriller, and a volume of poems. His collection of ethical dilemmas, Who Says You’re Dead?, is forthcoming from Algonquin
Books. Jacob currently teaches at the Mount Sinai School of
Medicine in New York City. More at: www.jacobmappel.com