Crowded Past by Susan Gibb

She could count lovers on her fingers if she included her thumbs. Was that bad? Did it make her desirable or just loose?

Angela was twenty-eight. She loved sex, had rubber-band flexibility, and though she hadn’t loved all her lovers, there were two or three that meant something more than just sex. One of them had been Andre.

It was on a European vacation after high school graduation. She’d stayed in hostels because it was the trendy way to “do Europe” then. She hadn’t listened to her mother and packed a blanket. It was a cold May in France and Andre was not only warm but handsome in that skinny Frenchman sort of way. He put her to sleep at night with whispered poetry she didn’t understand. Her mother insisted she return to the States immediately. She left him standing on the Left Bank waving goodbye. She often thought of him fondly, blowing kisses and sweet purple violets into the Seine waiting for her to return.

Another was Greg the Hobo who dressed in old ripped sweatshirts and jeans. Her mother had sabotaged the relationship when she brought him home on semester break. He was Dr. Greg (the Hobo) today.

Her last love and the one she was now swallowing pills in her bathroom over is Paul, a musician who told her he loved three other women besides her. Simultaneously. Her mother phoned an hour too late.

.

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14 Comments

Filed under Susan Gibb

14 responses to “Crowded Past by Susan Gibb

  1. stuff for a novel[la] in here. i also like the bridge to europe you’ve built in such few words.

  2. Thank you, Marcus. And I didn’t even have to do research!

  3. Joanne Jagoda

    Great piece Susan. I enjoyed the mother’s role.

  4. visually i can create on many levels and words fascinate me – which may be why it’s a challenge for me to comment on writings. writing is still a thing that awes me – so i hope it is appropriate to say things here… one of the things i like about Crowded Past is the way you connect up so easily (it seems to me) your beginning into the ending so that the entire work is a bundle, yet each unit is a story in itself – yeah fascinating and cool. and the entire unit says more than the sum of each part. way effective and cool. aloha.

  5. len kuntz

    yowzah. love it. great tug and pull from present to past to present with a fine ending. i wondered, while reading, how you were going to land this. so good.

  6. I agree this has the makings of a much larger story. Very sad.

  7. Delightful, heartbreaking, and wonderful. Bravo.

  8. Dorothee

    A Life in a Flash. Great structure. Yes, wow!

  9. Just lovely – until it suddenly turns harrowing. What a wringing you give us! I want to stay with the skinny Frenchman sort and the whispered incomprehensible poetry, the kisses and the violets from the Left Bank. But life’s not like that, is it? Oh, the hour too late! Tough, and very very good.

  10. Kelly

    yes, very nice structure, i too liked the way her memory pauses over the violets, and the ambiguous emotional role of the mother, which helped propel the ending, making the piece quite emotionally complex

  11. I loved this, the mother butting in — or not — sweet and sad. Peace…

  12. forlorn this piece. love the last line. it might pop even more if you isolated it, making its own ppg at the end.

  13. Pingback: Week #44 – Crowd | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  14. You enthrall me, time and time again. This piece is just amazing.

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