We first discovered, and fell in love with, Kelly Luce’s writing when we read Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail, her award-winning short story collection. When she agreed to write a piece for our Featured Fiction section, we were thrilled. In “Lookout,” a young man runs away with his brother’s new wife after the wedding ceremony. “Lookout” is about escape, but it’s also about acknowledging the things we want from life and how, despite our best efforts, happiness can so easily slip through our fingers. Enjoy this wonderful piece from a fantastic writer.
Sherina harvested the cash from the cards. She had a way of sliding her finger along the seam of an envelope and finding the weak spot where there was no glue. He liked watching her.
“I can’t tell if I’m depressed or if this is the happiest day of my life,” she said. She was wearing a Tang t-shirt, running shorts, and her veil.
He’d started stealing things when he was eight years old. Underwear from his aunt’s dresser. A dead lighter off the floor of his friend’s dad’s car. His second cousin’s motorcycle. His favorite part was not feeling guilty later, the way thieves did in books. The time with the underwear was when he first realized that no one could see what was going on inside his head.
The stack of checks was growing.
“We’d better cash those a-sap,” he said. “On the way to the airport tomorrow.”
She shucked another card. “Who’s Dave-dog and Diane?”
“Friends of our parents.”
“They didn’t give anything.”
“No thank-you note for them, then.”
This made her laugh.
“What are you looking forward to most?” he asked. They’d been meeting in secret for six weeks. When he’d proposed a post-ceremony getaway he was only half-joking, and when she agreed without a hint of a smile, he saw how his desperate surge of feeling toward his brother’s fiancée, and her need to escape, made a perfect couple. Sometimes life reminded you how little you had; how easy it would be to start fresh someplace else.
“Not having to worry. You?”
“The chicks, of course.”
“Ha. Will you miss anything?” The card in her hand said With This Card, I Thee Congratulate. She plucked the hundred-dollar bill from inside and tossed the card into the recycling bin.
“I focus on what I have.” He gave her a look and she blushed.
“Fall color,” she said. “Deep-dish.”
He put his arm around her. “This is a no-guilt zone. Guilt is a form of egotism. You’re not really feeling bad, are you?”
“Only when I think of you guys’ mother.”