Alina Rios

Alina Rios grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, and now lives in Seattle, Washington. In 2013, she was shortlisted for the Gulliver Travel Grant. Her poetry has appeared in Rust & Moth, Neon, StarLine, and is forthcoming in Camroc Press Review. Her fiction is forthcoming in Beorh Quarterly. She edits technical documentation for Tableau. To learn more, visit www.alinarios.com.

Alina Rios grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, and now lives in Seattle, Washington. In 2013, she was shortlisted for the Gulliver Travel Grant. Her poetry has appeared in Rust & Moth, Neon, StarLine, and is forthcoming in Camroc Press Review. Her fiction is forthcoming in Beorh Quarterly. She edits technical documentation for Tableau. To learn more, visit www.alinarios.com.

The Keeper

It started with a hint dropped in the depths of my stomach, like a key, while I was asleep. When I awoke, my senses were sharper, as if my body had been nearsighted for years and I finally found the right prescription.

Later that day, my new wife–we’d been married just shy of six months—was getting ready to go out. She was talking to me out of the closet over the music of metal hangers sliding.

“Lisa’s man dumped her. She needs a shoulder,” she said, and immediately followed with an exclamation point of a hanger roll. I came and stood by the closet door. She was wearing a black bra and blue panties, mismatched, just the way I liked it, and her thin arms moved through the clothes fast, searching like trained dogs. She turned.

“Oh Henry, you scared me.”

I stood quietly, thinking. Her hands rested on a navy blue silk blouse, fingers feeling the fabric.

“What?” She asked.

“Who’s Lisa?”

A hint of color bloomed on her pale face. “My friend,” she said, tasting the words.

I wanted to say, you don’t have any friends, but that seemed rude, so I said, “Where’d you meet?”

“At the coffee shop,” she answered too fast.

I nodded. It was possible. But as I began thinking, I realized, she’d been going out every night for the past month, or longer. How could I have missed it?

“What about last night?” I asked.

“What about it?” She said, chewing a nail.

“Did Lisa’s man dump her yesterday too?”

“No, just today.”

“What did you do last night then?” I asked. I wanted to ask “what was your excuse last night,” but I was afraid to, in case my suspicions were true. What would I do? Would I leave her? I didn’t think I could. But could I live knowing she’s sleeping around?

“Last night, I went shopping for clothes. Honestly, Henry, you’re being weird. You never cared before,” she turned back to her task.