Long Distance Lover was happy I finally agreed to spend time at his dead mother’s cottage in the middle of nowhere. I already lived in the middle of nowhere. After making the 850-mile drive to spend a week or two with him at his house in a real town, with real things to do, I dreaded heading out to the place where he longed to retire. Ahh, her teapot wallpaper in the kitchen. Ooh, the moldy carpet in the living room. Woo, the surprising amount of kitschy lighthouses though we were nowhere near the lake. Then the biggest surprise. His dead mother’s old king-sized bed. I knew she died at home and hoped it wasn’t on this bed. “I remembered what you said about lubricant,” he said, coaxing me to the bed. The plastic, mostly empty bottle of his dead mother’s corn oil, was awaiting me on the bedside table. I knew this romance would be over long before either of us retired.
Diane Payne's most recent publications include:Notre Dame Review, Obra/Artiface, Reservoir, Southern Fugitives, Spry Literary Review, Watershed Review, Superstition Review, Windmill Review, Tishman Review, Whiskey Island, Quarterly, Fourth River, Split Lip Review,The Offing, Elke: A little Journal, Punctuate, Outpost 19, McNeese Review, The Meadow, Burnt Pine, Story South, Five to One, and forthcoming in Barn House.