IT’S NOT • by Lilly Slaydon

James Mayer’s first wife left him; he can’t remember why.

He supposes it doesn’t matter, as long as she knew at the time.

James Mayer has a blue Honda Civic. He never plays music when he drives.

He plays instead his memories of Lucy. Lucy gasping, Lucy screaming

More

Yes

More

Please

James Mayer never takes his eyes off the road.

James Mayer has an apartment up the stairs, where there are coasters. He uses them even when no one else is there.

On mornings after Lucy leaves, James Mayer scrubs the ring-shaped water stains off his coffee table.

James Mayer has a secret.

James Mayer

James Mayer

James Mayer’s second wife left him for a man named Guy. James Mayer doesn’t blame her, but he misses her sometimes.

James Mayer hates it when Lucy won’t pick up her phone. If he doesn’t talk to her, he starts to feel like he can’t breathe.

It isn’t

It’s not

James Mayer’s mother died before he was old enough to say much more than her name

Mommy

James Mayer never eats peanut butter with a spoon.

James Mayer was happy, he thinks, as a boy.

James Mayer was

James Mayer

James

James Mayer sometimes wonders why no one ever called him Jimmy.

He wants

He wants

He only wants to talk to her

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Yes

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Please

James Mayer had a sister called Carol. Carol was very sick for a very long time. She died when James Mayer was ten years old.

He wanted to hurt more

But

He had kind of always known it was going to happen

so

so

James Mayer hears a noise like gears turning in the sides of his head every time he cries.

It has a peculiar creaking that sounds like “Lucy.”

He wishes it didn’t.

James Mayer’s father didn’t come to his third wedding. He said it was too expensive; he’d send a card.

He didn’t.

James Mayer’s third wife has a beautiful laugh

and puts a different kind of potpourri in every room.

And James Mayer

James Mayer

James Mayer has a secret

And Lucy has a smile with teeth

James Mayer didn’t want to do it

James Mayer could have stopped

James Mayer thinks he could have stopped

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Yes

More

Please

She laughed and her laugh was terrible

She laughed and her laugh was terrible

James Mayer’s father gave him a briefcase when he graduated college. One of the snaps is broken, but James Mayer still carries it to work with him every day.

James Mayer speaks three languages.

James Mayer

James Mayer

James Mayer has another sister. Her name is Lucy.


Lilly Slaydon is a native New Yorker and a student at Emerson College in Boston. One time she ate a live jellyfish on a dare.


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Every Day Fiction