photo of suspended umbrellas

Under the Weather by Katie Cortese

When you live somewhere without rain, you miss it, but when you live in England for a time, where every day debuts a new-and-improved brand of mist (heavy mist beads, and light explodes your hair, but there is a kind designed only to deepen the sidewalk’s gray, and redden the Kensington tube sign ruby enough to drip), you thrill to remember Arizona’s saltine midday, dry sweat midday, when you’d cross the street at a run just to walk half a block in the shade. This is nothing, of course, but nostalgia. Ordinary desire. It’s the way you want the boy from the pub when he texts—thinking about you. knock off early?—but when you see him again, shaking off your umbrella, he is thinner than you remember, his smile too big, by which you mean his teeth, and he is too eager to see you. When dinner is over, make your excuse. Spread your black umbrella. Delicious to walk the wet sidewalk beneath your beetle shell the whole way home, alone.

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Katie Cortese holds an MFA from Arizona State University and a PhD from Florida State. Her work has recently appeared in Carve, Gulf Coast, Third Coast, Crab Orchard Review, Cimarron Review, and The Tusculum Review, among other journals. In the fall, she will teach creative writing at Texas Tech University.

Lead image“Umbrellas” (via Flickr user Aurelien Guichard)