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How I Know She Loves Me by Bob Barlow | Word Riot
Flash Fiction

September 15, 2010      

How I Know She Loves Me by Bob Barlow

It was another sunny morning in Greenwood Lake. If you looked out the window and you didn’t look too far, you’d see some nice trees, all full of leaves, and you’d hear all kinds of birds in them, singing their songs. I guess what I’m saying is, it was one of those times when you could almost fool yourself into thinking that things weren’t all that bad.
     My girlfriend Stephanie was bustling around getting herself ready for her job at the lawyer’s office, grabbing flesh-colored pantyhose off the back of the rocking chair and trying to put them on while she fixed herself a cup of coffee and stuffed some lunch into a paper bag. I appreciated that she worked so hard and that she paid the rent on our little place, but on the other hand, her having a job got in the way of the good times we used to have when we were just stoned-out teenagers. She had to go to sleep early, and in the morning she wasn’t much fun to be around. It felt like no matter where I stood or sat, I was in her way.
     So I was relieved when she finally left for work. I listened to her banged-up Pinto crunch on the gravel, then go around the curve and accelerate onto 17A, then I sat down at the kitchen table and lit a joint. Pretty soon, Stephanie’s cousin, Delia, came out of the back room and plopped herself down on the chair next to me. We passed the joint back and forth a bunch of times.
     I really liked the way the smell of the pot and the sleepy, just-out-of-bed smell of Delia went together.
     It was the third day of her visit and I decided, there and then, to give up on trying not to stare at her. I guess it was those green eyes and that dirty blonde hair and how different she was from Stephanie, and how all she was wearing was pink panties. Yeah, looking back, the panties might’ve been a part of it.
     The chairs in the kitchen were the kind on rollers, so I rolled over to Delia and kissed her, and with her who-whos there and everything, I figured they were up for grabs, too, so I took one of them in my hand, and I was thinking, this is real nice, and I got the sense she was thinking the same thing, on account of the sounds she was making.
     I wasn’t paying much attention to my surroundings at that particular point in time, so I didn’t notice Stephanie coming back in the front door to get her lunch which she’d left
behind, and I definitely didn’t notice the bottle of vodka coming toward my head. But I sure noticed when it made contact.
     It hurt real bad.
     Delia scurried back to her room and Stephanie started yelling all the things anybody would yell in that situation – about what a bastard I was, and how could I do that to her, with her cousin no less. I thought of saying something about how Delia’s wardrobe was at least partly to blame, to say nothing of how good she smelled, but I decided against it. Just then Stephanie stopped hollering and got a real concerned look on her face. She touched the back of my head and when she pulled her hand back to look at it, it was covered in blood. That’s when I passed out.
     I woke up in a bed at St. Michael’s where they made me stay overnight. While I was there, I had some time to think about the whole thing. I’m not saying I’ll never look at another woman, that’d be a complete lie. But I realized something about Stephanie that night. I mean, anybody who cares enough about you to smack you in the head with a bottle of vodka while you’re making out with her cousin has to love you, right?
     She loves me.

Bob Barlow

About the author:

Bob Barlow is a writer, teacher and musician living in New York’s Hudson Valley.

    22 comments to How I Know She Loves Me by Bob Barlow

    • Tarma

      Interesting. Enjoyed the way ‘who-who’s’ were spelled…made me smile.

    • Another well written piece of fiction that I am happy to share with my friends. Love your style Bob. It’s very real.

    • Thomas Boyd

      Great voice, great economy of story-telling, and FINALLY the answer to “how will I know?” Nifty, Bob, keep ’em coming.

    • edieb




      I liked it a lot!!

    • Hayley

      I like your style, it’s simple yet enjoyable.

    • Adam

      Sometimes a guy might not be thinking ahead too much and do something he’s pretty sure will get him clobbered sometime but he thinks what the hell.

    • Anonymous

      I thought the ending was weird how he said if someone wacked you upside the head with a bottle, she loves you. i think thats wrong what he did and you should never cheat on someone no matter how good the other person looks.

    • Ashley

      I think if someone cheated on you, you would be very angry and would hit them or something. i think its awful for someone to cheat on someone no matter how good the other person looks.

    • Bristol

      This was a piece of work that is like no other. Barlow created what many people see as the “true” man. A person who gets drunk and high all the time and will do anything to get some. But Barlow also makes you think. Stephanie could have left him but she took the time to yell at him and get him help. Stephanie has not given up hope for him and wont let this one hickup get in the way of their love.

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