“I don’t know if I can do this,” I said. “How I can do this.”

“You need some stamina,” Miles replied.

“Stamina? Are you serious?” I laughed. “Look at me. I can barely move.” I felt like a vegetable, like the takeout noodle dish I eat nearly every night in Silver Lake.

He chuckled, slid further down into the plush sofa we shared. Stared into the car-sized fireplace. The swirling colors transfixed us.

The waitress at Embers approached us, cleavage first. “Another round?” she asked, as if she’d said, “Blow and go?”

Miles looked at me, shrugged. “I will if you will.”

The cosmos were twenty bucks a pop. Welcome to Aspen. I felt my wallet become ethereal, so light I could barely feel it. “What the hell,” I said, handing Cherise my empty martini glass. Imagined she’d touched my hand, held it for a second longer than she did. “Guess we’re done skiing for the day?” I glanced out at skiers whizzing by the lodge, various colors blending against the white backdrop. The snow screamed, it was so bright.

We sat in silence, the fire crackling, a constant steam noise, more like a river. It reminded me of Patricia, of a kayak trip we took the first year we’d met. Near Vancouver on the Squamish River.  The water was unusually high, the paddle disorganized. My kayak capsized within five minutes on our float, no guide in sight. Patricia baled from hers, rescuing me from potential disaster. Now I felt like I was in that same jam, drowning. Just in some other way. Don’t think about her, I told myself.

Not now.

“Hey, where’d ya go?” Miles asked, slapping my knee. He must have seen the look on my face. “Aw, don’t go there, man. Not now.”

I leaned my head back against the couch. “What am I supposed to do? Pretend she’s still here?”

Miles bit his lip, smiled. “You are supposed to get hammered. And we’ll find some nice ski babes at the bar later. In fact, I’ll bet they find us.”

“Yeah,” I said, feeling like I might get sick.


About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, Robert leads week long National writing retreats at sites like Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Synergia Ranch, and EarthRise IONS. His poems and fiction are published in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Los Angeles Weekly, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Editor-in-Chief at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing in Milwaukee. He is six times a Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His books are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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8 Responses to Transition

  1. Andrea says:

    Good to read one of your stories! I got the spins reading this.

  2. david says:

    worth the wait.. and as usual HUNGERING for more

  3. JR Price says:

    So glad you are back, and this story is sad and haunting. Among your best.

  4. Shari says:

    I have missed your stories Robert, so you can imagine just how thrilled I was when I saw this pop into my inbox. I loved the characters and just enough setting details like the astronomical cost of those fancy drinks in Aspen. Great job.

  5. Don says:

    This is great and your writing shines with life, and love lost, and two buds getting along as best they know how while in one of America’s most costly playgrounds. Nicely done, keep it up, Robert!

  6. theprayerlady says:

    Bravo as usual My Love. You have been missed. Your writings always take me away. Love Mom

  7. Theo says:

    Welcome back, Robert! I have missed your writing and thanks for this piece. You have an uncanny way of making us believe in your short sketches. Transition is proof of this. Well done!

  8. Beverly says:

    You are back, thank whomever for that! Gratitude pours from my fingertips for you and your writing. Keep em coming when you can. I always look forward to the next blog. This one was well worth the wait.

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