John Patrick Bishop

Johanna and I were on vacation in Naples, Florida. We chose Naples because we found a cheap deal through a travel agent. We didn’t care where we went. We were both twenty-eight and still at the jobs we’d promised to hold just until we figured out what we really wanted to do with our lives. We’d lie in bed in our apartment in Portland and Johanna would talk about going to law school, I’d talk about moving to New York and getting into advertising, but who the hell were we kidding?

We’d been together since college. We moved to Maine because a friend of ours moved there and said life was cheap. She found a job through a temp agency collecting excise tax at city hall. I was packing shipments for a Scottish-music distributor above a Pizza Hut on Congress Street. Our co-workers were busting ass to send their children to college so they wouldn’t have to work where we did. Our friend had long since moved away. We were still shipwrecked there.

Johanna’s family immigrated from India. Johanna. Halos of brown eyes. Straight hair she was growing to her waist because I told her it would look good. Skin the color of single-malt scotch. Sexual landmine. Even my friends thought she could do better than me. I was no prince among peasants—short, flat-faced and sporting an uninspired goatee. I bossed her around like a colonial bureaucrat afraid that the natives might discover his incompetence. She loved me. I secretly hated her for it.

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