The Back Issues

by Thom Scott

Connie put it all together when, as she scurried through the pile of magazines, using the one hand not busy applying pressure against her left eye, she found her husband's tiny name, and their address, printed in the corner of last month's Economist. A door opened. She didn't have to look up; Connie could already see her friend standing there in a white uniform, spinning her little flashlight used to diagnose a torn retina, chewing zero-calorie cinnamon gum, probably thinking of a thousand jokes to crack about how a splinter of chalk got caught in the eye of a third grade teacher; she could already see them going inside and bringing their faces close together in the dark, like they were freshman roommates again - only instead of having a laugh about that guy who made a fool of himself hitting on them, they would concentrate on correcting vision and preventing further damage. Her friend at the door called Connie's name, asked if everything was all right. Connie thought of why she had beat those blackboard erasers so hard in the first place - that smirk on her husband's face during that dinner, when he spouted on about Darfur, the trade deficit, the conflict in the Middle East, looking straight at her friend the whole time; when her friend, pouring another glass of wine, said they just had to come and see her new office downtown. Connie held up the magazine for the optometrist to see - her friend tried to say something but stopped, her voice dry as chalk as Connie peeled the address off - and with her one good eye, she left the office.


Thom Scott is currently pursuing a BA in English at Longwood University.