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Written by Kim Catanzarite

Kim has published many articles and short stories over the years, and she has won several contests.
 
Kim's YA novel titled Two Roads Diverged was a semi-finalist in the Pirate's Alley William Faulkner novel-in-progress prize. (2017)
 
Kim's short story titled "Handsome and Grethel" is featured in the debut publication of the Deadly Quill, July 2017. 
 
Her short story "At the Light on 17 and King" came in seventh place in the Sixfold fiction contest (Winter 2016) and will be published in the print version of the literary magazine as well. 
 
Kim's YA novel titled The Three Coins was short-listed for the Pirate's Alley William Faulkner novel-in-progress prize. (2013)
 
Kim took home two awards from the South Carolina Writers Workshop 2011 conference held in Myrtle Beach, SC: Second place in the Novel First Chapter contest and Honorable Mention in the Poetry category.
 
 Follow me and read my short stories on Wattpad: Click here for wattpad. 
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Kim's work has appeared in the following publications:
 
LITERARY MAGAZINES
Sixfold
The Evansville Review
moonShine review
Emry's Journal
The Petigru Review
Catfish Stew
The Deadly Quill
 
GLOSSIES
Various Better Homes and Gardens magazines
Woman's Day Specials
Charleston Style & Design
House Calls magazine
Many others
 
NEWSPAPERS
The Ridgewood News
The Post and Courier
Parent's Post
The Winston-Salem Times
Many others
 

EVELYN AND CLANCY 4-EVER      by Kim Catanzarite

First printed in moonShine review.


She said it all the time. Into his ear. Into his mouth. Sliding down the trunk of his body. You and me. You and me forever.

Clancy didn’t mind. As long as no one else heard, what did it matter? Down here, in the depths of his basement bedroom, he loved her too. At least he thought he did. He wanted to be with her. He liked her on top of him. She didn’t annoy him the way girlfriends in his past had.

His mother liked her because she didn’t call the house so much. And because she would be leaving for college soon, and now he wanted college too. His mother liked that he wanted college.

"You and me forever," Evelyn whispered.

Clancy didn’t say it back, and she bit his bottom lip, not hard, just a nibble. He laughed. She liked him to laugh. She pulled off his shirt and slid her hands over his chest. The rough fabric of the couch grated against his skin.


He didn’t mind so much about the red lipstick letters sprawled across his back windshield: Evelyn+Clancy 4-EVER. He thought it was funny until he drove up to school and the guys started shouting “Clevelyn” and “Hey, Mr. Evelyn!” By the end of the day, he staggered back to his car, weary with humiliation. Joe, the biggest offender, stopped in his mustang before pulling away. “Hey man, you know we’re just jealous, right?” And Clancy remembered how it was before he and Evelyn got together. How the guys talked about what they’d do to her in a dark room. They were jealous. All of them. Because she was hot. And she loved him. And none of them, including Clancy, could figure out why.

He would have washed the car during free period but he had an appointment with his guidance counselor. He would have done it after school, but Evelyn asked for a ride to her theater meeting, and after that, he got to the pizza place just in time to make the first delivery. When his shift ended, he had to pick Evelyn back up, and now it was well into the night. He’d wash the car in the morning, before first period. Hopefully his mother would let it slide, but he doubted it. She went all zombie gray on him when she first read the lipstick words. Standing in the kitchen, gazing out the back window, the coffee cup slipped right out of her hand. And after she’d finished mopping the spill, her lips remained that strange colorless color. “What’s that about?” she asked.

“Nothing,” he’d said.

“Tell me you didn’t elope.” It was the same tired tone she’d used on his dad: disappointment incarnate. “Promise me you’re not married.”

He turned his best smile on her. “Geez, Mom, what’s in that coffee you’re drinking?”

“You better not sneak off one day, Clancy. I swear to God.”

“I wouldn’t,” he said. “I won’t.”

“You are only seventeen.”

As if he needed reminding. “I know that.”

She straightened the neck of her blouse and pulled at her skirt, looking as uncomfortable as ever. She wasn’t business material, but once Dad left, she had no choice. “I like Evelyn fine,” she went on. “She’s been a good influence, to say the least, but … ” she shook her head, “… marriage at your age would be a mistake, believe me—”

“Evelyn got carried away, all right? Yesterday was our six-month anniversary.”

This, he could see, did not make Mom any happier.

“I’ll see you tonight.” She reached for her keys, her mind obviously stuck in some darker place. With her new job, there was never much time for conversation and that often proved beneficial for him.

And now, here he was with Evelyn in his finished basement of a bedroom, his mother at some chick-flick with her divorced friends, and Evelyn whispering as usual, You and me forever, her words riding over his brain like a cold breeze, numbing the grassy terrain as it came and went.

He liked kissing her. Sometimes he kissed her all night, falling in and out of sleep in spells. He was lucky. She was not a prude. If she wanted to do other things, they did other things. She loved him. And she had so many extra-curriculars, he seldom had to choose between time with the guys and time with her. The forever stuff didn’t bother him. He felt no pressure. None of his friends were getting married—most of them didn’t even have steady girlfriends—and his mother would kill him if he so much as bought Evelyn a necklace, let alone a ring.

He entered that dreamy phase that took over around this time each night—sleepy and comfortable and warmed by the beer they shared. He imagined this was what it was like to be married. Working all day, then meeting back up at night for a cocktail. Lounging on the couch in front of a soundless television that flickered in and out like candlelight. Soon he’d have to break free of it—wake himself so he could drive her across town, delivered by 12:30.

Evelyn sighed in his ear. She was so soft and pillow-like in so many places, sometimes he forgot she was there. "You and me forever," she breathed the words, and then, as if woken by a sudden knock at the door, her body stiffened, and she pushed up, rising from the foundation of his chest. “You never say it back.” The drowsiness had gone from her eyes, and he could see that she’d arrived at some distasteful conclusion.

“What’s wrong?” he said.

She shivered and collapsed on top of him. He jiggled her in a playful manner. “Baby, baby… What’s up?”

“I’m leaving for college soon.”

“I know that.”

“What are you going to do?”

He shrugged, though it was difficult with her on top of him. “Take classes. Get good grades so I can transfer—”

“Are you really? Or are you just saying that?”

“I really am.”

“And you’ll visit. Like, every weekend.”

“Yes.”

She snuggled closer to him, arranging his arms around her as if they were the arms of a sweater or the corners of an afghan. He doubted he’d see her every weekend. Maybe once a month. It was a long ride to her school, and his job at the pizzeria didn’t pay enough as it was. Certainly not enough to cover that kind of gas money. Besides, he worked weekends. She knew that.

He kissed her. And felt her up. And pulled off her clothes and tried to be passionate without becoming too excited and losing it early. Once it happened before he got the condom unwrapped, but that was a testament to how hot she was. Since then, he’d learned that concentrating on baseball or hockey, replaying crucial game moments in his mind, proved a reliable way to preserve his dignity. In the meantime, he did his best to apply the right amount of pressure—not too soft or slow, not too hard or fast—to bring about Evelyn’s subtle moan of satisfaction before reveling in a few free-wheeling seconds of his own elation.

The clock said 12:15. And then 12:25. Still, they remained entwined on the couch. Naked and unmoving. It wasn’t like Evelyn to ignore curfew. “I better take you home,” he whispered.

She withdrew herself from him. Arms, legs, boobs. Pulled on her underwear, strapped her bra. A preoccupied expression robbed some of the pretty from her face. He drew up his pants, poked his head through the neck of his shirt. Then slipped on sneakers and started up the stairs. If something were the matter, she’d have to bring it up.

“Clancy?” she said, and he stopped right there and held tight to the banister.

“Yes?”

“You and me forever.”

He turned and smiled.

She continued to stare. “Right?"

He could not simply go on his way. She was waiting. She’d been waiting for a long time. “Definitely,” he said and passed her a look of confidence that came from a part of himself that he’d never tapped into before.

Outside, the cool air felt damp on his skin. They hurried to the car. His mom must have stopped for a drink with her friends. He hadn’t left a note. If she got home before he did, she’d know where he was. He started the car, pulled away. He didn’t feel like talking. Evelyn wrapped her arms around his neck. Her satisfaction filled the car with a warm, humid fog. She didn’t say anything, just hugged him and nuzzled his neck and ran her fingers through his hair. He pulled into her parents’ drive, and she planted a kiss on his lips. “I love you so much,” she said.

The motor idled as he watched her climb the front steps, skipping like a little girl. She hesitated under the porch light to blow a kiss before disappearing inside.

He threw it into reverse and peered through the lipstick message on the rear windshield. He did not feel happy—or proud. He did not want to go to college and doubted he could make the grades necessary to join Evelyn at hers. She was an undeserved prize, something he could not live up to.

Back at home, he parked behind his mother’s car and went into the garage to gather the pail, a sponge, and a bottle of cleanser. He felt her eyes on him, watching from the kitchen window as he pulled the hose from the side of the house and sprayed water over the top of the car. It took some scrubbing to remove the lipstick, but nothing he couldn’t handle. He felt relieved as the swells of water carried Evelyn’s words away.

When he was through, he slipped in the side door and paused there.

“You didn’t have to do it tonight,” his mother called, the glow of the stove light backing her words with a soft, unconditional tone.

“Yeah, I did,” he said, and then he took the stairs down to his bedroom.

He could break up with her in the morning or break up with her next year. Either way, they would not be forever. And that was fine with him. Nothing was forever. Not love. Not marriage. Not even life. So why did she say it? You and me forever did not exist. If she said it even once more, he would have to punch something. He couldn’t stand to hear those idiotic words again. And how dare she write them on his car? What an embarrassment!

He would break up with her in the morning. He never said they would be forever, and he didn’t care how hot she was. He wouldn’t visit her at college or join her there any time soon. She was stupid and naïve to think so—and he knew better. He was only seventeen, but he knew better.

 


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