I have a new story, “Drinking With Her,” up at Night Train:
Drinking with her, long Tokyo nights descended into blissful haze, into shimmering pools of liquor-tinted light. Sometimes they drank until the sun rose and they were encircled by upturned chairs and bleary waiters. The days mushed into a warm mash that stuck to his ribs, stuck to his heart.
She arrived at his one-room apartment in Sangenjaya with a bottle of vodka, three packs of cigarettes, six tallboy beers. The air solidified to silvery blue as they lolled on the floor, legs entangled under the low kotatsu table smoking, talking, drinking, kissing, drinking, talking. He told her how it was to be alone in the strange terrain of a foreign land. She told him how it was to be alone in the familiar terrain of home. He told her how he’d long planned to off himself, how he watched express trains blur by with a calculated interest. She told him about her abortion, how she woke up blurry-eyed and how the near-father smiled and stroked her hand and then looked at his watch.
I wrote the first draft of this story more than eight years ago, in the months following my return from Japan to cold America. It languished on the hard drive for a long while before being resurrected late last year. It was also roundly rejected at a number of mags I really respect before Rusty Barnes picked it up.
I hope to remember this little lesson in perseverance in upcoming months when I get discouraged about my writing prospects, as I have been wont to do as of late.
Do check out great entries by Roxane Gay, Sheldon Lee Compton, and Q Lindsey Barrett, as well. I’m honored to have my name next to theirs.
I’d also like to mention that Night Train has the coolest logo going.