Our son Matt had been away at college for almost 3 years when I got a call from his old high school girlfriend.
“Mrs. Edelstein, it’s Ellen, remember me?”
I’d liked her a lot, feeling maternal right away because her mother was dead. Although her family didn’t have money and she’d had to work after-school, she was a top student (and also read novels I recommended). I’d never quite understood why she’d chosen to go to the University of Miami. I’m sure I asked Matt about it, but Ellen was one of those subjects—he’d answer my questions cheerfully enough, then suddenly start arguing over nothing and I’d be bewildered until I’d realize that I’d crossed some line with him. Over the years she’d written me a few notes, I’m sure I answered, nothing much.
Karen Wunsch has published fiction, creative nonfiction and memoir in many magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar, Saveur, Epoch, the Kansas Quarterly, the North Dakota Quarterly, Confrontation, Kalliope and The Literary Review. She teaches English at Queensborough Community College in New York City.