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Bess Is in Love

Jessica Klimesh

Bess is in love and stares at the clouds when she, Annie, and I are outside on break. Such a beautiful day, Bess says. Annie shivers. I mention it's starting to rain.

Bess is in love and talks about leaving this dead-end job and moving to Indiana, where he is. She doesn't tell Annie and me his name at first, just says my boyfriend.

Bess is in love, and they talk on the phone every night. Then at work the next day, while others discuss stockpiling beans and other Y2K prep, Bess tells Annie and me vague bits and pieces more, finally tells us his name: Kevin. She says the name lightly, as if it were glass, breakable.

Bess is in love, and when she tells us he served in Desert Storm, I say Ooh, an older man, just teasing. I picture Kevin tall, football-player strong, with a bit of blond fuzz on the top of his head. He's not that much older, Bess says nebulously, but doesn't offer details, doesn't have a picture to show us.

Bess is in love, and I think of the girls I knew in high school like her, the girls who were both quiet and loud in their awkwardness, who just wanted to be loved. I didn't blame them, and I don't blame Bess either.

Bess is in love, and the year 2000 comes and the world doesn't end. We're still the youngest ones at the warehouse, the only college kids, but now Bess wears a little blush, some lipstick. Her acne clears up, and her hair looks less greasy, more styled. When Annie and I ask how Kevin is, she grins, glows. But if we ask how they met, where he works, or what he does for fun, she looks at her feet. He loves me, is all she says.

Bess is in love, and I feel a touch of jealousy when she talks about Kevin. I've only had two boyfriends, and only one that counted, and that ended after just a few months. Annie hates men and tells me I'm lucky to be single. Men are such a hassle. You're better off without 'em, she says.

Bess is in love and doesn't want to go out with us one night after work. Annie says Oh come on! And I say, Yeah, it won't be as fun without you. But Bess says that Kevin is going to call at eight. Annie rolls her eyes. Oh, he can just wait, she says.

Bess is in love and crying when she comes into work the next day, her eyes puffy, her voice raw from screaming all night on the phone with Kevin. He was super pissed I wasn't home when he called, she says. Annie and I exchange glances and Annie says that's his problem, not Bess's, but Bess waves her off, says she should have known better. If I were there, she says, he wouldn't have to worry.

Bess is in love and says that Annie and I don't understand since neither of us has ever had a serious relationship. We don't argue, and soon Bess is all smiles again, telling Annie and me how they talked for two, three, or four hours the night before.

Bess is in love, and she's been saying she's going to do it, move to Indiana, to be with him, and now she's actually done it, put in her two weeks' notice, and is leaving us for real. She promises she'll write, email, but we know she won't. It'll be okay, Bess says, but Annie shakes her head, says that's what everyone always says. She still can't get over her dad leaving her mom after thirty years of marriage. In hindsight, she says, she should have seen it coming. There are always warning signs.

Bess is in love and when I suggest that he move here instead, she says he won't leave Indiana, says he can't. I feel the fury of her words, their fire, but Bess doesn't seem to. And when Annie asks how often they've gotten together in person, if he's ever even visited her, Bess looks away, her mouth twisting into an uncertain half-smile, and says Actually, we've never met, her words landing like soft pinpricked cotton. Then she looks up at the sky, says it looks like rain. Annie and I follow her gaze, squinting into the bright blueness, no clouds for miles, and say she's right, it does.

Jessica Klimesh is a US-based writer and editor with work forthcoming or in Cleaver, Atticus Review, trampset, Flash Frog, Bending Genres, Flash Boulevard, Club Plum Literary, Does It Have Pockets, and The Woolf, among others. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction, Best Small Fictions, and Best of the Net. Learn more at

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