Love Story, redrafted

The day marriage equality was approved by voters in Washington State, my wife and I were watching the returns online. She was lying in bed, recovering from surgery. I kept calling out numbers, and crying. It was 2012, when I still thought Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were the worst things that could happen to America. O nostalgia.

Mary got an infection from that surgery. And hefty medical bills. And no physical relief.

Fast forward four and a half years. Her symptoms have returned with all their friends to kick the fuck out of her uterus.

Can I tell you a love story?

I know this sounds like a medical drama, but that’s only because you don’t know that she fell asleep in her sundress last night. One arm cast over her head; the moon blurred in the sky outside our opened bedroom window. The dogs tucked around her. Crickets cricketing.

That I stood and watched her and was grateful. Not for illness. Not for health. Not for struggle or politics or addiction. Not for money. Not for the seven years I have stood and watched her sleep. My beautiful girl. I was grateful because this is it. To be with your person and love. This is the whole endeavor of marriage.

We can complicate it with millions of layers, but this is it. I got to marry my person and love her. And my whole life, I will feel blessed by that fact. The fact of her. The fact of our marriage. The fact of this body that I worship.

Yes, worship.

If you are a woman who has been to a doctor with a complaint, you already know that we are mysterious. We are unknown. We are misdiagnosed.

And we are powerful as fuck.

Could I live in a house with this woman and not already know that power, mysterious and solemn as it is?

I can feel it, always, drawing me toward her.

What I love best about my wife is that she is the woman. The Woman. I have built an entire life around this love.

She returns to the doctor again today. And all the tumult she feels is near enough that I can hear it breathing.

I’ll bike home in the afternoon, and we’ll have dinner at a small Mexican place near our house. And she’ll tell me stories. Just like always. And I’ll be tethered to her. Like two girls at the ends of a jump rope. “Come on,” we’ll say. “Come on! Jump, motherfucker.”

Or maybe the tether is a boat docked.

Or a kite straining into the sky.

A climber lifting, lifting.

It doesn’t matter. Do you see? It doesn’t matter how we are bound to one another. We are bound to one another. And that is the fortune.

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Jill Malone

Jill Malone grew up in a military family, went to German kindergarten, and lived across from a bakery that made gummi bears the size of mice. She has lived on the East Coast and in Hawaii, and for the last seventeen years in Spokane with her son, two dogs, a hedgehog, and a lot of outdoor gear. She looks for any excuse to play guitar. Jill is married to a performance artist and addiction counselor who makes the best risotto on the planet.

Giraffe People is her third novel. Her first novel, Red Audrey and the Roping, was a Lambda finalist and won the third annual Bywater Prize for Fiction. A Field Guide to Deception, her second novel, was a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley, and won the Lambda Literary Award and the Great Northwest Book Festival.

Giraffe People

Giraffe People

Between God and the army, fifteen-year-old Cole Peters has more than enough to rebel against. But this Chaplain’s daughter isn’t resorting to drugs or craziness. Truth to tell, she’s content with her soccer team and her band and her white bread boyfriend.

And then, of course, there’s Meghan.

Meghan is eighteen years old and preparing for entry into West Point. For this she has sponsors: Cole’s parents. They’re delighted their daughter is finally looking up to someone. Someone who can tutor her and be a friend.

But one night that relationship changes and Cole’s world flips.

Giraffe People is a potent reminder of the rites of passage and passion that we all endure on our road to growing up and growing strong. Award-winning author Jill Malone tells a story of coming out and coming of age, giving us a take that is both subtle and fresh.

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A Field Guide to Deception

A Field Guide to Deception

In Jill Malone’s second novel, A Field Guide to Deception, nothing is as simple as it appears: community, notions of motherhood, the nature of goodness, nor even compelling love. Revelations are punctured and then revisited with deeper insight, alliances shift, and heroes turn anti-hero—and vice versa.

With her aunt’s death Claire Bernard loses her best companion, her livelihood, and her son’s co-parent. Malone’s smart, intriguing writing beguiles the reader into this taut, compelling story of a makeshift family and the reawakening of a past they’d hoped to outrun. Claire’s journey is the unifying tension in this book of layered and shifting alliances.

A Field Guide to Deception is a serious novel filled with snappy dialogue, quick-moving and funny incidents, compelling characterizations, mysterious plot twists, and an unexpected climax. It is a rich, complex tale for literary readers.

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Red Audrey and the Roping

Red Audrey and the Roping

Occasionally a debut novel comes along that rocks its readers back on their heels. Red Audrey and the Roping is one of that rare and remarkable breed. With storytelling as accomplished as successful literary novelists like Margaret Atwood and Sarah Waters, Jill Malone takes us on a journey through the heart of Latin professor Jane Elliot.

Set against the dramatic landscapes and seascapes of Hawaii, this is the deeply moving story of a young woman traumatized by her mother’s death. Scarred by guilt, she struggles to find the nerve to let love into her life again. Afraid to love herself or anyone else, Jane falls in love with risk, pitting herself against the world with dogged, destructive courage. But finally she reaches a point where there is only one danger left worth facing. The sole remaining question for Jane is whether she is willing to accept her history, embrace her damage, and take a chance on love.

As well as a gripping and emotional story, Red Audrey and the Roping is a remarkable literary achievement. The breathtaking prose evokes setting, characters, and relationships with equal grace. The dialogue sparks and sparkles. Splintered fragments of narrative come together to form a seamless suspenseful story that flows effortlessly to its dramatic conclusion.

Winner of the Bywater Prize for Fiction, Red Audrey and the Roping is one of the most memorable first novels you will ever read.

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