- Fondly (1922)
She kept putting off sending him the book, then one afternoon she recognized the author walking up Fifth Avenue and followed because it was a spring day she was on her lunch hour and sunshine somehow assured her that he wouldn’t turn around, but after three blocks he stopped in Brentano’s and moments later went off to Fiction, and she watched as he calmly slipped a Ring Lardner book into his coat pocket, then quickly left with a look on his face which said Scott was thinking of one thing, but was moved by another.
And the next morning on her way to work she mailed her copy of This Side of Paradise in care of Scribner’s, along with a note confessing that she’d followed him but leaving out the part about the bookstore, and when her Paradise came back weeks later it was wrapped carefully and waiting on her desk, and when she opened the book and saw his inscription in blue ink, she read it in a whisper, repeating it, and it felt like they met once, and later Scott had phoned her and they spoke a long time, and maybe this was what he meant by writing “fondly” above his name, and how it seemed forthright yet a little lonely, on a line all by itself, as though when he sat at his desk and wrote out the word, other words moved out of the way. [End Page 186]
David Petruzelli’s first collection, Everyone Coming Toward You (Tupelo, 2005), was selected by Campbell McGrath for the Tupelo Press Judge’s Prize. His poetry has appeared in the Gettysburg Review, Hunger Mountain, the New Yorker, Pleiades, and the Southern Review.