by Eric Bosse

Elisha wakes me in the night, clutching her fingernails into my shoulders. Her face hovers inches above mine. Her
breath, still sweet from toothpaste, makes a warm pillow of air on my cheeks. She whispers, “Listen to this.” Moonlight pours through the open window. Half her face is lit by the pale glow; the other half vanishes in shadow. She leans
closer. “You awake?”

“What time is it?”

She lines her lips up perfectly on mine and kisses for a moment. “I thought of something.”

“What?”

“At dinner you said that every seven years every cell in the human body is replaced, right?”

“Go to sleep, Elisha.”

“Every cell, right?”

I glance at the clock. It’s 3:28. She puts a hand on my cheek and pulls my face toward hers. A car hisses past on the street. The storm is over, the scent of rain lingers. “Every single cell?”

“I think so.”

“Wait, you think so or you know so?”

“Yes, every cell.”

She pulls her nightgown over her head and tosses it off the bed. It’s the first time I’ve seen her breasts since Niagara Falls. “Well, I’m twenty-five now,” she says. I shake my head. “I don’t get it.”

“I was sixteen the last time.”

“The last time what?”

She peels off my boxer shorts, then straddles my hips. She feels wet against my skin. She reaches down and puts me inside her.

Out the window an airplane crosses through the Big Dipper. The trees, heavy with leaves, rise over the roof of the apartments next door and wave a thick shadow on the sky. “It’s been eight years,” she says. She slides forward and lifts off in a way I’ve never felt, whisking her body into mine. She takes my wrists and presses my hands against her breasts. “Eight years,” she says. “Not a cell left that Dad ever touched. Not one.”

Eric Bosse lives in Colorado with his wife. He works as an educational behavior consultant by day, writer and filmmaker by night, and lounges around sipping wine and listening to good music all weekend. His film, “My Mother Received a Wound,” just might be featured in the 2001 Sundance Film Festival — you never know. His fictions have appeared in Linnaean StreetEclecticaExquisite Corpse, and will soon appear at In Posse Review and in the forthcoming fiction anthology from Agony Press. He dedicates “Eight Years Later” to all sorts of ghosts, especially his own.