Phantom Child

by Janet Clare

You know your life has changed forever the first time he climbs out of the crib and scares the shit out of you by turning up in the kitchen. And, later, when he’s learned to drive and shows up unexpectedly, and you think, wait, how did you get here? Then, later still, when he's taller than you and you're hugging him goodbye one night near his college campus and someone walks by and says, “heh, heh, heh.” And you rush to call out, “no, no, he’s my son.” Don’t you see? He’s just my little boy.


Janet Clare has had short fiction and essays published online at Literary Hub, Manifest Station, First Stop Fiction, among others, and anthologized in New World Writing, Elm Leaves Journal, The Truth of Memoir and Spent. Originally from New York, she studied at UC Berkeley and UCLA and lives in Los Angeles. Her first novel, Time Is The Longest Distance was published in 2018. Her website is here.