Dying Things

Marie Hoy-Kenny


My sister brings her latest boyfriend over for dinner. Peter. He seems like the last ones, about 6′5″ with a beard and a decisive step. He kisses me on both cheeks and his earthy scent hangs in the air after he pulls away. He thrusts a bottle of merlot in my hands. I pour us each a glass and take a long sip. My sister’s eyes widen because I never drink. I clink my glass together with hers with a loud “Cheers.” She picks at her lasagna while Peter and I dig in. The sauce has the perfect balance of sweet and tangy and I can tell Peter enjoys it by the way he blinks for a count too long as he chews.

I ask Peter to pass the Parmesan and graze his wrist with my fingertips as I take it.

My sister points at the empty chair at the table. “Met anyone lately?”

I shake my head.

Peter smiles. “Maybe I know someone, what´s your type?”

“Tall,” I answer. My sister and I like the tall ones. When we were teenagers, we used to fight over them. She always won.

After dinner, my sister and I sit on the sofa while Peter looks around my living room. He picks up a book and flips through its pages. He picks up my rose quartz and studies it under the lamp. He picks up my plant and examines its brown leaves. “This is dead.”

I shrug. “Maybe not.”

Peter looks at it longer. “Maybe not,” he agrees. He heads to my piano and begins to play. I know it´s Bach, so I tell him and he grins.

When he is finished, Peter squeezes between my sister and me and our thighs all rest together. He tells us the story about how he got his piano.

“I saw a sign advertising a free one, so I called the number and the guy on the other end of the line told me to come by. When I got there, the guy gave me this long hug but it didn´t feel weird. He told me he was dying and I said, ‘Aren’t we all?’ Then I played a concerto and the guy just stared out the window and didn’t say anything. When I was done, he told me I could take the piano. He didn’t want to leave it to his family. He wanted someone who would play it to have it.”

I glance at Peter. He´s glowing, so much that I want to reach out and rest my hand on his forearm in case it´s catching. Now the room is silent. Our six thighs make a tight bridge that buzzes with words that cannot be spoken until I must stand.

I serve rhubarb pie and ice cream for dessert. My sister frowns at her plate. “Do you ever get lonely here by yourself?”

I linger beside her, place my hand lightly on her shoulder. “I see you and your men for dinner every week. That´s all the company I need.”

Peter raises his eyebrows but a mouthful of pie keeps him quiet.

I pour us another glass of merlot.


Marie Hoy-Kenny is a writer from Ontario, Canada. She is a 2019 PitchWars mentee. Her work has been published in Cease, Cows, Cosmonauts Avenue, Five on the Fifth and Flash Fiction Magazine.




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