Now available: Orchard City

Orchard City, Leah Browning

The first time I saw her she was in the lake, her long hair fanning out behind her in the water. She’d come home for the summer, and I’d just bought a place a few miles away from my parents. I was planning to fix it up, maybe sell it. I hadn’t decided yet.

Later we went out for burgers and a beer so cold it made my throat ache. We had to shout over the music. Lila touched my hand. Someone was smoking. From halfway across the room, I could hear the balls clicking against each other on the pool table behind me.

I took her home for Sunday dinner with my older brothers and their wives. It was early fall, September. Before we ate, we walked among the apple trees behind the house.

-- excerpt from "Before and After a Slice of Cake," from Orchard City