Fiction — From the May 2013 issue

Loyalty

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As much as I love her, I blame Astrid. Astrid told my wife, Corinne, that she could achieve happiness if only she’d leave me. It sounded simple. “Leave that guy, walk out that door, you’ll achieve happiness, you’ll be free.” Achieve happiness. Now there’s a phrase. Into the Ford with the busted shocks and out onto the American road, then — that was the prescription.

I stood in the driveway. It was sleeting the day she left. I had agreed not to follow her. She was so eager to go, she forgot to use the windshield wipers until she was halfway down the block. She turned the corner, the tires splashed slush, the front end dipped from the bad shocks, and she was gone.

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’s most recent book is Gryphon: New and Selected Stories. His poem “The Arrow by Day” appeared in the June 2011 issue of Harper’s Magazine.

More from Charles Baxter:

Poetry From the June 2011 issue

The arrow by day

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