“Get Well, Seymour!” by Joe Meno (from Demons in the Spring)
The girl playing badminton is the one. But I don’t want to believe it. It is because her legs are so shapely and long and, in their stunning whiteness, betray a winter spent indoors. Her ankles are well-sculpted, her knees pinkly glowing, and there is something about her slender wrists that suggests the modest charms of aristocracy. I don’t care much about the rest of her. It is the shape of her shadow, the way she stands there bored in the shade of the cruise ship’s upper decks in a green skirt with white tennis socks pulled past her shins; I watch her lean over as she traces something with the edge of her racket, some invisible word or shape in the air. She is daydreaming and the picture she makes in the middle of the ocean liner is one of absolute splendor. I hear the sound of her laughter as the shuttlecock flies her way, her laugh which is not the kind of haughty one you’d expect from a girl who looks the way she does, and suddenly I’ve lost my nerve . . .