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Crickets

Nancy Barnes

Hear the crickets? That's what the text said. She didn't respond. Hear the crickets? No, not him, it can't be him. After a minute, fingers trembling, she wrote Who is this? Suspicious and careful. Don't you remember the crickets? Then, Sorry, it's Toby. She put the phone down, stood up from her chair, walked to the window. She was shaking all over, shaking on the inside, her hands her belly her eyes, she couldn't stop shaking. Not one single word for seven years, not since the day Eddie found the emails. No, I can't do it, she said out loud, I can't, I can't let him in. Then the phone pinged again. Not a day has passed that I don't think of you, not one. Are you there? She drew in her breath. Yes, she wrote, yes, I’m who you’re looking for the one in the grass with the crickets the best fuck ever that lasted for twenty-two years all that time with my two babies at home, my boys, grown men now, really good men and Eddie, still Eddie even after I betrayed him, so no, I don't remember. I can't, not again, that time was everything but not again. She hit the send button, put the phone down and sat back in her chair.



Nancy Barnes is a cultural anthropologist and college teacher, now writing personal essays and stories. Her work has been published in Hippocampus, Harpur Palate, and Pangyrus, among other journals. A native New Yorker, she and her partner now live in Northampton, MA.