By Ellen Weeren
Children play on street corners until the lights grow dim and the stars are visible like pinpricks on a bulletin board. Dinner is an any-hour activity of bologna sandwiches and watered-down Kool-Aid. There’s no urgency for the children in getting home at a particular time unless they want to watch the news. They don’t. They’re more interested in what’s coming than what’s been and get their futures told from paper fortune tellers that flit opened and closed like a sparrow’s wings. The ones where they control the options because they fill in the answers themselves. Lift one flap, and their old dog dies, another, and they’ll find their prince. Even without a fancy wedding dress, their party will be the best in town. Unfortunately, a spill of rain can ruin the game and send the children running home. The blue-lined paper melts, the pen-spelled words bleed. Not everyone gets a chance to see their futures unfold. But then, the drunk old witch on the corner of This Street and That Road promises them that when Saturn and Jupiter are in conjunction, they will win the lottery. She doesn’t tell them that conjunctions only happen once every twenty years because she doesn’t remember all the facts. As their lunch money turns into lottery tickets, their futures turn the corner into their parents’ lives.
Ellen Weeren's work has been published by the Kenyon Review (KRonline), Liars’ League NYC, the Hong Kong Review, Crack the Spine, and Stonecoast Review. She's the recipient of the George Mason 2019 Outstanding Graduate Student Award (MFA Fiction), the Porches Writing Fellowship, the Dan Rudy Fiction Award, the Marjorie Kinnear Sydor Award in Literary Citizenship, and the Kenyon Review’s Novel Writing Workshop Peter Taylor Fellowship. TripBase twice recognized her blog about living in India as one of the top 10 best travel blogs. Ellen earned her MFA (Creative Writing/Fiction) from George Mason University.
Art by Hristo Fidanov