On the phone, at a gas station, in our dreams
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Matthew M. Quick’s first novel, The Silver Linings Playbook, is forthcoming from Sarah Crichton Books, and his work has appeared in the Black Warrior Review, Meridian, and the Portland Review. He lives with his wife and their rescued greyhound in Collingswood, New Jersey.
On the screened-in porch of my in-laws’ house in central Massachusetts, I am reading a book. Sipping from the tumbler in my hand helps fight the unseasonable chill in the June air. The ice cubes are shrinking, diluting the alcohol, and clinking every time I raise the glass to my lips.
We are bouncing over a rough ocean, on a boat packed with twenty or so fishermen, and I am breathing the smoke from my grandfather’s cigarettes. In the darkness of early morning the captain collects money for a gambling pool. “First and heaviest, thirty-seventy split,” he yells, and when he gets to us, my grandfather hands over a fistful of bills. As the captain moves on, my grandfather winks at me and says, “You will win.”