Love and Other Delusions

by Larry Baker


In Alice's world, it all made sense. She told her husband: I stopped cheating on you when I started sleeping with Danny. He finally understood, but too late. Alice Marcher is dying, but she is still trying to understand her life. She was thirty when she met Danny Shay. He was eighteen. Two years later, they were sleeping together. Twenty years later, they parted. Alice insisted: It lasted so long, so it must have meant something, right? We weren't a cliche', were we? Katherine Arnett is Alice's audience, or therapist, or ghost. Only when Alice dies is Katherine's true identity revealed. The two women share a final moment in a room with a man who simply asks: Who are you? Only one woman knows the answer. A story came back to her as she died, fiction as real as her own life, and she herself finally understood it. A beast in a jungle had always been there for her, all those years with Danny. Her own incarnation of that beast, its breath finally upon her throat, had finally turned on her. She had done a very bad thing, falling in love with Danny, and the beast had always been waiting. ---page 60. Peter Bartram is Alice's husband. He has always known.

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