Patrick Mainelli

Get Away

“It’s about the stars,” she explains. “He doesn’t know if they’re there, or if they’re not there. So he decides all he wants is to look around—see what he can see. Fuck the stars.”
Then she turns off her light. Falling back into the cushion of her canvas bag, she lights the next cigarette from the butane flame of a Bic, and with a cast of her wrist returns her book of Lorca to its place by the tent. It’s gotten to be very late.
The mosquitos are asleep, a small miracle so late in August—that, or the tumorous smoke of green leaves and wet wood on the fire has kept them hiding in the shadow. The cicadas and crickets, though, are vehemently awake. And so in the silence, there is no silence—instead only the constant wheezing and humming of small life’s various frictions.
Sex and eating sex and eating sex and eating.
She is there—in the bluff and riverland of lower South Dakota—with her brother, who is older, and her sister, who is younger. Going on twenty-seven years now she is by so many measures in the middle. Middle of the siblings; middle of the country; middle of the warm, shared bottle of rye. Middle of the college degree (postponed thirteen semesters now); middle of this or that romantic disaster; middle of the long-troubling bout of restlessness. Whatever else she had landed in the middle of remains hers alone to catalogue—there bei