Fiction: Superior Golden Dragon

lewis dragon

Read More: A Brief Interview with Andrea Lewis

At that moment I wanted to kiss Ben, even though he was my daughter’s boyfriend, even though he was twenty-three years younger than I was, and even though he was trying to dial 911 on his cell phone.

“Wait.” I covered the phone with my hand. We were in his Honda Civic, watching a small funnel cloud churn up a soybean field in the distance. The car was stalled in a flooded dip on a county-line road. Hailstones hammered the roof, then didn’t, as if someone above us had flipped a switch. “Let’s sit it out.” The twirling white thread of the twister was moving away from us, receding into its eggplant-colored cloud. Three years since my husband died. In all that time, I hadn’t wanted to step outside my vault of grief, let alone kiss anyone. Now I wanted to kiss Ben.

“We’ll miss the concert, Mrs. Keene.” Ben gripped the phone and seemed about to cry. He blamed himself for misjudging the water and inching the car into it.

I lowered the visor and looked in the mirror. My hair was frizzing and I began to doubt the new taupe eye shadow. When I flipped the visor back, I noticed the floor mats were oozing damp onto the rope soles of my red espadrilles.

Ben’s shoes were sturdier––polished black lace-ups––and he wore a slim charcoal-gray suit with a maroon tie. He smelled of lemon shampoo and hair gel, but underneath I detected spring garlic and hoisin sauce from his parents’ restaurant, The Superior Golden Dragon. He waited tables there while he worked toward his EE degree. He had been Claire’s boyfriend for a year.

“She’ll understand.” Claire was already in the city, at the symphony hall. She would perform that night with her high school orchestra––her last concert before graduation. Bach Violin Concerto in E Major. In three hours, she would stand at the edge of the stage in her pearl-white dress with the puffy skirt. She would dip her shoulder into the long, melancholy notes of the adagio, ever calm, eyes half-closed, honey-brown hair in silver barrettes, wrist fluid with the rise and fall of the bow. Right now she was probably tuning her violin and kidding around with her musician friends to keep them as calm as she was.

Ben looked at his phone. “911 will be crammed anyway,” he said. […]


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Andrea Lewis writes short stories, prose poems, and essays from her home on Vashon Island, Washington. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Cutthroat, Catamaran Literary Reader, and elsewhere. Two of her stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is a founding member of Richard Hugo House, a place for writers in Seattle. More of her work is available at www.andrealewis.org.

Read More: A Brief Interview with Andrea Lewis