Where She Was

Where She Was by Helen Fremont

Jana and I were in the bathtub on a drizzly afternoon, miles from anywhere.  She was turning the hot water on and off again with her foot.  I leaned against her, comparing legs.  It made me think I was seven again, at the Albany Art Museum, copping a feel of those rich velvet cordons when none of the guards were looking.  Her legs wove around mine and just kept on going.  You could string them along an art exhibit for half a city block.  Her left foot hung over the edge of the high-lipped bathtub – one of those tubs that’s perched on four porcelain paws, like it’s fixing to walk away.

No, my mother doesn’t know.  She thinks Jana and I are friends.  I love that word: friends.

Published in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, 1994, ed. William Abrahams. Originally published in Ploughshares, Winter 1992-93.