Staying in the Background

It feels weird to say, “I was married.” I find I sometimes almost omit this detail in answer to the question “why did you move here?” even though to omit it is to sidestep the truth. When I say it, I can’t help but feel like I’m making it up.

I did move to Clearview because I got married; but the reason I ended up staying after my husband Cary left me and we stopped being married wasn’t Cary, or his absence, but the presence of Fred and Eden Steeper: a pair of strangers I met in that small town who became the centre of my suddenly free time and attention.

But it’s true. We moved to Clearview because my husband was expected to take over managing his family’s construction company while his father recovered from some serious heart trouble, the warning signs of a heart attack. Cary and I had always talked about the probability of us moving to Clearview, at least for a while, eventually, when the company passed to his hands; but then it suddenly happened.

One day we were lounging with our feet up on the arms of the couch in our apartment, working on our laptops—Cary on his drawings for his job as an architectural technician, and me on my writing for an online travel magazine—and the next we were a CEO and his wife. We knew we needed to gain a better understanding of the construction company and what it did. At least he was an architect, and he had wanted to leave his job for something new for a while anyway.

My job was portable, and besides, it would be a relief to do some actual travelling. For my job, I was asked by the tourism website I worked for to read Wikipedia and other travel sites and write stories as though I’d been to places I’d never gone to and would probably never see. At least now I could see a new place. It was the thing I wanted most; the change that would make everything seem fluid and open. All the work from home, the writing about the world from my few square feet of space on the couch—cross-referencing my colourful descriptions of descending down into landscapes in airplanes with aerial views in Google Earth on my laptop—had caused me to start feeling like a kind of astronaut.

Cary hadn’t seemed quite himself in recent months either. He was still recovering from a bad period of anxiety—for a while he’d stopped leaving our apartment at all. “It’s something I can’t explain,” he told me when I tried talking to him about it. “It’s this feeling that somehow I’m in the wrong life.”

But he’d been getting better. I couldn’t tell what he thought about taking over his dad’s job, exactly, but he seemed to feel resigned and nervous in equal parts that cancelled each other out, or at least kept him from saying much. The only time he did say anything of much substance was one night after we’d had some drinks; what he said lingered with me.

“I don’t want to move,” he said, looking at me through the damp curls that hung over his eyes when he didn’t brush them to the side. “I don’t want to become my dad’s business, but I want to become his son, and the only way to do that is to be his heir. That’s what he wants me to be. He doesn’t want what he’s built to stop shaping the world, and he needs to leave a hand behind to keep doing the shaping.”

I always loved Cary’s gentleness—the way he held things in his mind but outwardly only appeared to see and address the small details: a drink, a way of looking at things differently, the idea for a new walk to go on, the suggestion of going to sleep. Keeping us comfortable. When he brought up an idea like this, more abstract, bigger-picture, it meant that it was all he was thinking about, and no solutions had arisen yet.

Nonetheless, aside from his moment of openness that one night, Cary was typically practical in his approach to the subject, sensing my uneasiness about leaving and going to a town where I knew no one. “It’s just for now,” he said to me, many times.

But I heard him on the phone to his parents. That’s not what he said to them. To them, he said we’d be looking to buy a house in Clearview. But I thought maybe he was just saying that.

And then one day, I was moving his laptop from the coffee table, and it whirred out of its sleeping state and lit up, displaying a picture of a house—a Google Earth image that had been zoomed in on so that details were fuzzy but discernable. It was a small wood-frame house that looked like it had been abandoned, its hedges overgrown, hugging the brick and hiding its front windows. I thought of the conversations I believed I’d overheard between him and his mom on the phone, about the possibility of buying a house.

That night while we were cooking dinner I tried to bring the subject up in a casual way.

“So, are we buying a haunted house?” As I said it, I cringed inwardly, my casual tone falling flat, like a curtain crumpling to the floor, exposing the confusion mingled with mild panic that had seized me.

He set his glass down on the counter and turned and looked at me. He looked tense.

“What do you mean?”

“I saw a picture of a house on your computer, in Clearview. It looks like it’s abandoned.”

“Well, that’s what I’m trying to figure out,” he said. “Some people I used to know lived there once.”

He looked uncomfortable, so I tried to change the tone, to focus on practical matters.

“So, are you thinking it might be an option for us?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I didn’t know you’d be looking at it. I didn’t mean for you to see it. I’ve just kind of been trying the place on in my head. Practicing for seeing the town again. I want to let the town arrive inside me in stages, so it won’t drown me out when we get there. If that makes sense.”

“It does,” I said. I was still confused and perturbed but didn’t want to force the conversation. I changed the subject to our trip, two weeks ahead—what we’d bring and leave behind. After a long conversation about whether any of our cheap furniture was worth keeping as we ate and did the dishes, we moved to the couch with a bottle of whiskey. We were trying to empty the liquor cabinet, not wanting to bring the quarter-full bottles of rye and gin with us, and not wanting to waste it. Sipping some rye and soda, I felt more at ease. I thought I’d check in about the company—to keep things practical and forward-looking. He was sitting across from me, his face lit by the blue light of his laptop, and I wanted to pull him out of the screen and into the room.

“Have you learned anything about what your dad’s company does?”

“Here,” he said, turning the screen around. Google Earth again. This time, he wasn’t looking at a house, but at a zoomed-out, aerial view of a lake in a forest, seemingly undeveloped except for a pair of small structures on what looked like a small farm.

“Before all this, my dad was planning on beginning construction on some houses around this lake. It will be our company’s biggest project yet. Under my supervision. If it happens. I used to go swimming at that lake when I was a kid. It was a secret spot.”

It was the first time I had heard him say “our company.” His voice seemed faraway, and his eyes were distant, moving to the screen and then away from it, and not meeting mine. He finished the dregs of rye in his glass and poured himself the last inch from the bottle.

“Anyway, I’m still researching,” he said.

That night I lay in bed beside Cary unable to sleep, despite the effects of the rye. Needless to say, it felt strange to be moving into a new business we didn’t really understand: it was as though Cary had seen an animal outside the window, and asked me to let it in without telling me what kind of animal it was. But I had moved toward the door, and now it was opening. Our apartment was already rented, the new owners coming by to measure and drop things off. We were locked into the move. The pictures I had seen, either by accident or that Cary had shown me, didn’t make the future any easier to visualize.


And then the process of getting ready to go was done, and the day came for us to go. Our conversations in the car on the way felt dissociated, as though we were on some kind of a day trip instead of moving our lives to a new place.

“What kind of houses would they be, anyway?” I asked as we flew along the highway, Cary cross-legged in the passenger seat, me at the wheel. “I guess I should understand things better than I do.”

“Not luxury homes. Bigger places, modern.”

“Who would live in them?” I asked.

“City people,” he said, shrugging. “People from Clearview who want something nicer. I don’t know. I don’t really understand. I’m trying to. My dad says some clearing started but nothing has been dug. My mom says we don’t have to do it. At least not now. But I know my dad wants it. I told her I don’t know if I’m ready, or if I can handle the big project—or if I want to.”

As it grew dark and we got closer, we got quieter. At the point when I knew we were close to arriving, a series of bright lights on poles came into view to our right off the side of the road. Huge clouds of beige dust billowed up through the beams into the evening sky. I slowed down as we drove past an empty site, partially dug up. A bulldozer sat idling, a man still inside. Beyond the machines and the empty lot, visible through the dense trees, a flash of dark green water lay still, reflecting the lurid lights and the shadows of the machines overhead thrown across the edges of its surface. Without needing to ask, I knew this must be the building site Cary had shown me on Google Earth, where the houses were planned to go in. I tried to imagine the lake in daylight, on a summer day long past, when young Cary had rushed to the water, running and jumping, the thrill of a swim right in front of him. I realized I was filling in details; I knew hardly anything about his childhood.

“My mom said things were paused on the building of the houses,” Cary said. “That nothing was moving forward till I got here.”

“Maybe there was some kind of miscommunication,” I said, weakly, not sure what to say.

“We’ll find out soon. We’re almost there,” Cary said. “Ten minutes or so.” We were quiet the rest of the way, taking in the view, new to me and something to him that I couldn’t imagine.

Cary’s parents’ house was a farmhouse, I was told, or had been at one point, but it had been restored, renovated and built-onto until it had become the flood-lit castle on a hill that loomed up ever-larger ahead of us as we drove toward it in the dark. The driveway wound up in a dramatic curve across a sprawling property. A row of carefully disciplined trees stood along the front of the house, each lit by its own light glowing from the ground.

Luz met us at the door: I’d met her before, but she looked different. Thinner, tired; not like Cary physically, but similar in her quiet, almost flickering presence.

“Dad’s sleeping,” she whispered, as she hugged Cary and then me. “I don’t want to wake him up. I’ll take you to get settled.” She led us out back, across the dark lawn to a carriage house. Inside, once she said goodnight, we dropped our bags onto the marble floor and went to bed without saying much. I wanted to ask him why he didn’t ask about what looked like an active construction site at the lake, but I felt like we had to be as quiet as possible; there was a stillness to the place that seemed to seep inside of you. We were soon asleep.

Later in the night, I woke up in the darkness to see Cary sitting on the side of the bed, looking at his phone. He was looking at the house again, the one I’d seen on his computer.

“I don’t want anything built on that lake,” he said, without turning around. “Not by me. It wouldn’t be good.”


But despite what appeared to be his deep discomfort, the next day, and in the weeks that followed, Cary did his best to fill his dad’s shoes. He made calls, went to dinners with men who wore cell phones in holsters on their belts. The construction of the houses was a popular topic; Cary had decided he didn’t want the project to go ahead as planned, at least not in the foreseeable future, but he didn’t mention this fact to the men he met. I was the only one who knew this. The preliminary clearing of the area seemed to be going ahead anyway; it was a topic of interest among the people we met and a cover for Cary’s decision that he wasn’t ready for the big project.

I drank glasses of wine with high-heeled women in sleek, stylish living rooms that I was surprised to find in such a small and modest town. I was learning that the town was distinctly tiered, class-wise. I let myself be flattered despite myself when they leaned in toward me as I talked, realizing slowly that I was somehow interesting because I was new, because I came from the city, or because I was related by marriage to Cary’s parents. I saw them begin to lean back as they heard my answers to questions, which seemed not to meet whatever need was there.

It was one of these women, Beth, who told me about Fred and Eden Steeper.

“Being from the city, you must know who they are,” she said. “And knowing Cary you must know them. Of course. I can remember him almost living out there at that old house. I met him when I was about ten, and he was always there. I think I thought the three of them were all siblings, the way they ran around together in the summer.”

“No,” I said. “I haven’t heard of them.”

“Well, maybe that’s for the best,” she said. “They’re a bit strange. They moved back here because their mother’s art just went up at the local gallery. They keep to themselves mostly. I went to the opening. I was curious. Fred and Eden sat at the back of the room on folding chairs, and only spoke once, to correct the speaker about one of the paintings. He used the wrong word for the colour or something. I love the paintings. I emailed them to ask if I could buy one of them, that’s how much I liked them. But I haven’t heard back. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll see them around.”

And then, one day, while driving home in the car with Luz and Cary from a tour of the flooring outlet that Cary’s father also owned—in a daze from a late-afternoon of chatting in the expansive, marble-floored space with some of the company’s higher-ups—I saw a tall couple walking slowly down the town’s main street. They stood out because of the green jacket the woman wore, their otherwise dark clothes, and how similar they looked.

“Who are they?” I asked. Cary just looked at me.

“Those are the Steepers,” Luz said. “Their mother was an artist here. Quite well known in her day. They’re living in her house again. People don’t like them too much, or at least they don’t understand them. There’s some idea that they’re trying to change this town into something different without being a part of the town themselves. That’s what people say, anyway.”

Cary turned and looked at his mother, as though surprised to see how conversation had started to flow between the two of us. She and I had started to become friends.

Seemingly in response to Cary’s look, Luz fell silent.

I looked at Cary. He shrugged, and turned on the radio, flipping it around from station to station.

I was confused and hot, and stared straight ahead for the rest of the drive, focused on the dusty road. My mind was racing, trying to guess whether it was the topic of the Steepers that had caused the halt to the conversation, or the openness Cary had noticed between me and Luz.

Lying in bed beside Cary that night, with the lights out, I turned on my reading light and sat up on an elbow.

“Do you know the Steepers very well?” I asked.

Aside from the briefest flicker, Cary’s expression didn’t change.

“I only really knew them when I was young. Muriel Steeper—the late Muriel Steeper—I know; she was a good artist. She seemed so alive to me—in a way the kids don’t, at least when you see them. It’s almost like she painted them into being. That’s what they’re like.”

He looked at me in the dark, and I could feel that he felt my confusion.

“Basically, their world was different than mine. They lived a kind of rough and tumble bohemian life at home with their mom. The house was always a jumble of things, kind of a mess. They had a garden out back where they grew vegetables; the kids would help with it. But it was like you weren’t supposed to approach them too closely. Or maybe it was just me. Our house was always so cold—made of stone, shiny. Theirs was full of fabric, paper, wood and metal.

But we’re here now, in this world. We should stay away. Stay here. I don’t want to get mixed up with them.”

The floors in Cary’s parents’ house were all marble, and shoes or even slippers, for some obscure reason, were forbidden by his father to be worn in the house. I found that I became fixated on the footprints that would imprint and linger on the floor from feet wet from the poolside. I’ve always found human footprints so beautiful, the way the negative space makes a gradient row of moons out of the toes, and the arch is narrowed to a spare curve.

Cary’s mom wasn’t much of a talker, or at least she didn’t seem to do small talk. Cary had once told me she was sad, and as I got to know her I came to see what he meant. She was there, behind glass; she would allude to it indirectly: “I sometimes wonder what things would have been like if I’d taken different turns,” she told me one morning while we sat in the backyard, our legs stretched out in the bright morning summer sun on the loungers by their small, tear-drop-shaped pool. “If I’d said more.” “I’ve never said much either,” I said. “Neither does Cary.” Being with her was like being with him. It made her company easy, despite my wish at certain times that she would say something, anything, to distract me from my own thoughts.

I was starting to get restless. Cary was hardly ever around. So I started walking around the town and among its winding and dirt-pathed peripheries. At first I told myself I was just wandering, but I soon accepted and embraced what I was really doing: looking for Fred and Eden, and trying to learn who they were, and what they were, or had been, to Cary.

The second time I saw Fred and Eden, and really began to tune into them, was in the library, while I sat working on my laptop, feigning studiousness while I listened to them talk to the librarian about getting a card. When she heard their name, she looked at them as though seeing them for the first time.

“Steeper. Like the artist. We have a book about her in our local history display. Here,” she said, leading them over to a shelf with a sign that said Local Colour, each letter in a different shade of paper. After they left, I went to the shelf. Muriel Steeper: A Way of Seeing by Douglas Fournier. The book was brand new, the cover pristine. On the cover was black and white picture of a woman who looked just like Eden, seated in front of an easel, gazing at it intently. I took the book from the shelf and sat down to read in a back corner.

Muriel was self-taught, I read, but her name as an artist grew and grew. After her death, in keeping with her wishes, her work was to be installed in the small museum in Clearview, where she’d moved when the kids were approaching their teens. She wanted to paint with less interruption, and couldn’t afford the city anyway after her husband left to marry another woman. As I flipped to the front again to look at the publication date, a paper insert fluttered onto my lap. Please come to the opening of the Muriel Steeper Exhibit, it said. With talks by Doug Fournier, and by the curators, Fred and Eden Steeper. The date of the opening was the first day of the previous month.

I went up to the desk, holding the book. The librarian looked up at me and I held up the paper insert for the event, showing it to her.

“I’m wondering if you know where this museum is,” I asked.

“Oh, I missed that event,” she said. “I had to work. But those kids were just here. The Steepers. The museum is just down Braithwaite Road. Back behind the lake—across the water from where those big new monster homes are supposed to go up.”

As I left the library that day and got in my car, I saw Fred and Eden standing behind the library building, passing a cigarette back and forth between them, like teenagers hiding behind a school.

The next day, I took the car out past the lake, and came to what looked like a converted barn with a painted sign nailed over its door: Clearview Museum. I parked in the dusty lot, my car the only one there. Inside, I walked up a creaking set of stairs, and I was struck by the incongruous slashes of pink and purple, blue and violet in the frames on the white walls of the stairwell and at the top of the stairs. The paintings weren’t totally abstract; they contained recognizable shapes—houses, faces, animals, a chair, a bird, but the shapes were submerged in colour.

Standing in the gallery, I looked out the back window to rest my eyes. Off at the edge of a field, in a group of pine trees, stood a house. It was the one from the picture I’d seen on Cary’s computer. It was entirely covered in green vegetation—shrubs and ivy had swallowed up the brick. It must be so cool and dark inside the house. I tried to imagine what it must be like, the depth of shadows, the way plants have of cooling the air around them, and the way darkness keeps things cold. I wondered if the inside of the house was green as well, the light coloured by the ivy’s leaves.

Once, when I was a young adult, before I met Cary, a friend and I were on our way home from a drive in the country and had seen a car being pulled from a swamp beside the road we were on. The car was full of objects visible through the windows: in the rear window you could see a pair of sneakers, a tennis racket, a broom, behind a speckled, hazy green-stained film that held the entire car from the inside; what struck me was that the car had become green, not in the sense of turning colour but in terms of what it was: it was the colour, and everything in it was green too, not just in colour but in essence, uniform, logged with the rot of weedy river, clean and transformed, locked together into one single new thing by its time in the water, weeds, dripping brown, metal, belongings, and all. A whole household, a private world stuffed into a car and dipped into the colour green—steeped in it until it began to dissolve.


Cary sometimes said the word “CEO”, but only when we were alone. He would say just the one word, as though trying it out, letting each letter fall off his tongue, his eyes gleaming with a kind of tired amusement. It saddened me to watch him with his dad’s business associates: the clinked bottles of beer and glasses of scotch across a marble island in a kitchen under pot-lights, the pats on the back meant as a welcome bordering on initiation, the invitations to come to luxury cottages and yacht trips. I saw Cary differently in those moments, glimpsed through a doorway, the way he tried to lean and smile, and how uneasy he was, his lithe body as spare as the evaporating imprint of a bare foot on marble beside a row of tangible leather shoes.

One morning, I woke up and he was gone. There was a note on the bedside table. He had gone back to the city. He couldn’t talk about it, it said, but he couldn’t do it: he needed to be away, and alone. He was sorry. He was especially sorry to me, he said. He said that I could do whatever I wanted, that no explanation was necessary to his parents but that they would be happy to have me stay indefinitely, while I figured things out.

We had gotten married too quickly, pressured by his dad, who kept offering to pay for the wedding, a gift that couldn’t be refused.

I didn’t know what was next for me. I talked to Luz, and we agreed that I would stay in the carriage house while I figured that out. Her husband was starting to get better, but she could still use some help, if I felt up to it. They would be happy to have me stay. As a part of the family, Luz said.

So I stayed.

Now the present, the main story of my life seems to have begun. My thoughts aren’t on Cary as much as they are on Fred and Eden. My days and nights consist of observing them. They’ve become a radio that can be listened to in a way that drowns out one’s own consciousness.

Last week, on Thursday night, I sat alone in the diner a few booths away from Fred and Eden, pretending to read the menu and then a stained copy of the daily paper from the nearest city. I kept my head tilted so I could hear what they said, glancing at them indirectly. My food arrived—the same meal I had heard them order, the Sunday special—a chicken dinner, and I began eating it, glad for this further focus to hide the attention I was paying them.

I sometimes wonder if it’s possible that they have never noticed me watching them. It’s almost like I’m not there at all.

Even in the diner, I noticed it. The more I tuned into them, the more I felt like I was becoming less tangible. Fred and Eden, Eden and Fred. Steeper. Their last name is endlessly suggestive to me: the steepness of their height; the slow bloom of tea leaves’ stain at the bottom of a glass of hot water. Summits and depths.

I study them, not just in the diner but whenever and wherever I can. What they seem to be is similar to what they are, but never quite the same: They look 38 or so but they’re 35—maybe because of the cigarettes they smoke, always discreetly, behind things, so that most people wouldn’t know they smoke. They’re good-looking, but not obviously so. They both have hair that appears black, but it’s dark brown. They also appear to wear a lot of black, but they don’t, really, or at least not any more than the average person. They’re both tall, but they appear closer to average height because they’re always side-by-side. They speak very quietly, one would be likely to say, watching them; in fact, they don’t. They just speak so infrequently that when they do, the words drop into a layer of silence they’ve laid down like a mat. They appear to speak carefully and precisely, exuding preparedness and forethought, but in fact they speak as words occur to them, without design.

The effect Fred and Eden have on rooms they sit in. It’s hard to put a finger on it but it’s something I can best describe by saying that they tint sound. Or maybe it’s because when they’re in a room, you—or at least I—want so much to hear what they’re saying that you tune everything else into a dim, darker background murmur so that they can be heard.

At the diner, their dinners came, and they ate for some time in silence, Fred sipping from Eden’s wine, Eden from Fred’s water, first working through salads and then plates of chicken. I watched them, waiting. I had decided I was going to approach them, but not until I’d listened for a while.

They were talking about their mother’s paintings, and how the exhibit was going. Eden said she didn’t miss the city.

I thought of the book I’d read about their mother; it seemed long ago now that I’d read it somehow. It was like thinking back to a first conversation with someone you’d gotten to know much better since then.

I recalled what I’d read. Before they moved to Clearview, Fred and Eden lived in the apartment they had grown up in with their mother on the thirty-eighth floor of a concrete condominium building that looked out over the city.

In the summers, their mother painted on the concrete balcony. Eden would stand out there with her while she worked, leaning her forearms gingerly on the pigeon spikes that lined the balcony’s ledge, letting the nail tips press into the flesh of her arms as her hair blew in the breezes collected by the concrete alcove. Eden hated the vertigo the view caused in her, but she loved the view itself, the brain-shaped treetops, and buildings revealing their shapes and relative height. Muriel would never have installed the pigeon spikes herself; she would have gladly let the pigeons land and sit on her while she worked, but they had been there when she moved in and her indifference to domestic details was a force more powerful than her openness to birds. In the same way, all household details in the apartment were decided by a contest of forces rather than any effort.

Eden and Fred had moved back into that building when they returned to the city from Clearview after their mother’s death. They had one older brother named Frank, who had gone away shortly after the family moved to Clearview.

A letter Frank wrote Eden after he left was excerpted in the brief chapter that touched on him. His letter was a kind of reverie about his memories of being with his siblings. His memories of her were of Eden’s back, or of the side of her face when she turned to listen. How she would stand at the sink washing dishes, her back to the room, running the conversation in the kitchen without speaking. He would be standing in the middle of the room, on a chair changing a lightbulb in the ceiling light fixture; Fred would be practicing his imaginary golf swing, though he had never been golfing; their mom would be painting or drawing a sketch for a sculpture at the kitchen table.

“You can tell people I went tree planting again,” he wrote.

Frank was different from his mother and siblings, friends of the family say. As the oldest, an only child for his first four years, he grew not alongside his mother but as her off-shoot, a curling tendril that grew around and up toward the main stalk.

Frank would go tree planting out west every summer, the chapter concluded, and it’s thought that he settled permanently closer by to this work.

Finally, having finished her meal in the diner, Eden spoke. Her voice was deep but not low, understated but clear.

“I think we were wrong to contact him,” she said. “After everything that happened.”

I froze, knowing that they must be talking about Cary, even though they didn’t say his name.

Fred sipped Eden’s wine again, and said nothing; I assumed he was letting it rest as fact, their wrongness. But then he spoke.

“I know we were wrong,” he said. “But what matters is that we felt we were right at the time. There was no helping it. He wanted to see us.”

“But now he’s gone. I thought our idea was to sell him the house. And now what? Are we stuck here?”

“We can’t control him.”

They fell silent, still, and got the bill from the server.

“Still,” Eden said, after they paid. The word hung in the air. “I think we were wrong. We seem to still have that same effect on him.”

In the diner that night, I realized that the Steepers didn’t know who I was. They had never seen me before. The looks on their faces made it clear, when I approached as they were putting their coats on, that they were seeing a stranger.

“Hi,” I said, hearing my voice almost as though it was coming from above me. “I think you were friends of my ex. Cary.”

They looked at me, their eyes wide, but with different expressions. Their eyes were different colours, his brown and hers blue-green.

I could see the truth of it in their faces. Cary had loved them. I knew it by looking at them more surely than I would have known by asking him. It was as though in that moment I had become Cary, and could feel what he felt and thought; what he thought about was the Steepers. He was a part of them.

I knew in that moment that if I didn’t leave Clearview that night, I probably never would.

“Okay,” I heard myself saying.

They had invited me back to their place, their mother’s house. I found it hard to think of any reason why not. Maybe I would walk in and see him there: Cary. Frank. The two would be merged, and we could all laugh, bobbing up to the surface of the untrue story we’d somehow fallen into. Or, the house would be empty, and it would just be us: Fred, Eden, and me.

In either case, I could leave town in the morning.

Untitled design (12) Writer and editor Emily Anglin grew up in Waterloo, Ontario, and now lives in Toronto. Emily Anglin’s first collection of short stories, The Third Person (Book*hug), was published in 2017; her writing has also appeared in The New Quarterly, The Whitewall Review, and in the chapbook The Mysteries of Jupiter. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Concordia University and a PhD in English Literature from Queen’s University. She is currently working on a novel.