An excerpt from the novel
Sarah Gardner Borden

They dated all winter and spring and summer. They held hands and watched a white Bronco tear down Southern California freeways. They spent whole weekends in bed, screwing and sleeping and recounting their dreams upon waking. They freely swapped love, trading it back and forth like second graders with stickers. They opened constantly to each other, ready always to receive each other and any accompanying inconveniences. They spent Labor Day at her mother’s house, eating at midnight in Greek diners and driving hours for fresh strawberries and a disappointing flea market. Back in her room, after a movie and dinner at Thomas Quinn’s Bar and Grill, Kate’s mother asleep already, Colin asked Kate if she’d marry him. They lay on her girlhood bed, playing cards—she dressed in a denim skirt and a soft brown Indian blouse. When he asked her Kate laughed because she couldn’t believe he was serious, but then she said yes.

This was unprecedented—amazing. She felt as though she’d suddenly landed a starring role in her own life. She found herself desperately thirsty, the kind of thirst she used to get with her hangovers when she was a teenager, and she and Colin walked over to the gas station and bought three different kinds of fruit punch, and back at the house she drank some of each, from a tall glass filled with ice. She couldn’t get enough of it—her teeth hummed and she was almost sick.

“I didn’t even realize I wanted to get married,” she said. “But I do! I want to see you every day. I want a pink bathroom and a mirror at the end of the bed. And an Oriental rug in the living room. And a really nice fridge. I want to make birthday cake. And babies. I want to have a happy family. That’s it. That’s my dream. I didn’t even know until right now.”

Sarah Gardner Borden holds an MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in a variety of journals, including Open City, Willow Springs, the Chicago Reader, Other Voices, Literary Mama, and the New Haven Review. She lives in Brooklyn.
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Buy GAMES TO PLAY AFTER DARK, a novel by Sarah Gardner Borden (Vintage Contemporaries Original) here.

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