by Alicia L. Gleason
I always end up back at the apartment on 12th street. We moved in on a dim Saturday morning. Remember how you found that kinked key in the cabinet beneath the sink? A key someone before us had bent? You fell ill with interest in the house’s previous owners. In how they got in and got out, in where the key fit. You tried all the locks. You searched in the cobwebbed cellar while I soaped the kitchen floors. I’ll bet this was with a hammer, you said when you came out, holding the key with two fingers, a loop of red thread drooping from the hole at the top. Then you tracked dirt onto my clean floor. Or someone with a strong hand, you continued, your shoe prints bleeding into the suds. Or, I said, waving you off the floor, it wasn’t in the lock when it was bent—it was alone. I sponged the places where your shoes had been. The water in my bucket turned sour. So you agree, you asked from the creaking door frame, that there’s something to the key? I got impatient with you then: Sure, I yelled, it’s that we’ve inherited a broken key that doesn’t fit anywhere, that won’t open a thing. Right, you said, turning it in your palm, but why us?
Alicia L. Gleason is a graduate of George Mason University’s MFA program, where she studied fiction. She writes short stories, flash fiction, and is at work on her first novel. When she’s not writing fiction, Alicia teaches first year writing at George Washington University. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Image credit: Brenda Clarke on Flickr