Subscribe to The Atlantic and get 2 free issues

Experience

[Fiction] A woman whose marriage is ending finds a new place to live:

"When my marriage fell apart one summer, I had to get out of the little flat in Kentish Town, where I had been first happy and then sad. I arranged to live for a few months in another woman’s house; she agreed to let me stay there rent-free, because she was going to America and wanted someone to keep an eye on things. I didn’t know Hana very well; she was a friend of a friend. I found her intimidating—she was tall and big-boned and gushing, with a high forehead and a curvaceous strong jaw, a mass of chestnut-colored curls. But I liked the idea of having her three-story red brick London town house all to myself."
PUBLISHED: Jan. 17, 2013
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6466 words)

An Abduction

[Fiction] A young girl encounters an older group of students:

"The morning of the abduction, Mrs. Allsop—dishevelled in a limp linen shirtdress—was wielding her secateurs up a ladder, pruning the climbing roses. She was immensely capable; tall and big-boned with a pink, pleasant face and dry yellow hair chopped sensibly short. Jane admired her mother greatly, especially when she transformed herself at night, for a concert in London or a Rotary Club dinner, with clip-on pearl earrings and lipstick and scent, a frilled taupe satin stole. Jane coveted this stole and tried it on when her mother was at the shops, making sultry faces at herself in the mirror—although sultry was the last thing her mother was, and everyone told Jane that she looked just like her. She certainly seemed to have her mother’s figure, with not much bust, no waist to speak of, and a broad flat behind.

"'Why don’t you call up some of your old friends?' Mrs. Allsop suggested from the ladder top. 'Invite them round to play Ping-Pong.'"
PUBLISHED: July 7, 2012
LENGTH: 31 minutes (7823 words)