It was after they’d made love, a rarity these days, that Julia told him about the voicemail on the landline. He’d been relishing the feel of her silky legs when his wife uttered the name, jolting him awake.
“It was Yo,” Julia said, cutting the name with a stretched yawn, “landa.” With that she rolled to her side.
Adam hadn’t seen Yolanda in about a decade, long before his wedding six years ago when he’d forgotten to invite her. That wasn’t exactly true. She’d been on a list of exes he and Julia had drawn up, but he’d removed Yolanda’s invitation from the batch of crème-colored
envelopes to be mailed. After that, he truly had forgotten. Now he couldn’t stop remembering.
Yolanda had emailed him a few days ago saying she’d be in New York. Would he care for coffee? Despite relentless obsessions, Adam hadn’t mustered a reply.
He’d met Yolanda a decade ago in San Francisco, a city he’d reached by way of Colombia. Latin America had always intrigued him, especially after absorbing the works of Garcia Marquez, Cortazar, and Puig during college. After graduating, he’d ridden chicken buses
and hitch-hiked until he reached Bogotá. Many of the countries he visited were dangerous back then. Or so people said. With light brown hair and hazel eyes beneath expressive, sometimes
wayward eyebrows, not to mention his knack for conjugating Spanish verbs, Adam felt welcome everywhere. He planned to reach Tierra del Fuego, but he spent his last peso at a bar in Bogotá
and called his financier father to wire money. His father obliged, but not without lecturing him on the merits of an MBA.
Adam never reached his destination, nor did he apply to grad school. Instead, he impulsively headed for San Francisco and promptly landed a job teaching fourth grade English language learners, never mind the lack of teaching certificate. The teacher shortage, his Spanish language skills, and charm were credentials enough at the impoverished school. Despite his father’s derision, the work left him feeling righteous.
That fall, he joined fellow teachers at a political rally and heard Yolanda speak. Her husky, forceful voice belied her diminutive stature. When she asked for volunteers, he was the first to sign up. He followed her as she canvassed streets, carried picket signs, and spoke through megaphones. They’d dated only a few months before he asked her to move in with him.
Why was she seeking him out now? Through mutual teacher friends, he heard that she’d been living with an older man, a professor. Was she married? Did her wavy black hair still reach below her waist? She’d been bold. She once handcuffed herself to an immigration van in protest.
He loved her for it, for her innumerable causes. She sizzled with an electrifying energy and he wanted to feel her heat. Why did she left him after a year? The question still vexed him. Shortly after they parted, he returned home to his father’s promise of a subsidized MBA. She’d called, but he’d been too distraught to respond.
Just then, Julia rolled towards him in deep sleep, her eyes hidden beneath satin eye covers, her long, auburn hair in ponytails. She wore her hair pencil straight. Yet, in the shadowy night, he detected tiny tendrils dancing at her hairline. He admired the way those recalcitrant curls asserted themselves. Julia couldn’t control everything. He listened to his wife’s steady breathing. Even in sleep, she was orderly and organized, the type of woman who kept lists for birthdays as well as her ovulation schedule on her phone--the latter allowed her to conceive with precision so that Ian’s delivery wouldn’t interfere with the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of the magazine where she worked. The kind of woman who anticipated when he needed his favorite suit dry cleaned. He couldn’t live without her.
But did he love her? Truly love her? He once thought he loved Yolanda.
He’d been miserable after she left him, despite not being alone for long. His boyish good looks assured him of the constant presence of women, even if they mired him in forgettable relationships. It wasn’t until his college roommate introduced him to Julia that his life took a serious turn. The moment she stepped into his life his directionless path acquired a compass. It was as though she vacuumed him clean, reorganized the rooms in his head--not to mention in his apartment--and reset him. It felt like destiny.
Yet, lately, the malaise that had dogged him after his parents’ divorce was biting him again. He’d turned thirty-seven that year. Maybe it was midlife. Or the kind of stellar misalignment Julia and her friends talked about. For lately, he’d been questioning his life’s choices--his job at the firm, his West village neighborhood, even his marriage. He didn’t dare share these feelings with Julia. No doubt, she’d drag him to therapists, astrologists, or woo woo
quacks. Instead, he let his thoughts rob him of sleep.
When he finally slept, he dreamt he gathered Yolanda in his arms, awakening with blurred fragments of being inside her. It was as though he’d made love to her rather than to Julia.
When she roused him, he felt confused and deceitful.
“Can you take Ian while I shower,” she asked.
Adam rose and cradled the baby. Immediately, Ian crumpled his face and howled. Exhausted after fitful sleep, Adam wasn’t prepared for him.
“Change him,” Julia directed from the bathroom.
Adam took his son to the nursery and locked his eyes into his infant son. “Get a grip, Little Man,” he said.
But the baby cried inconsolably. Adam changed his diaper, patted, and jiggled him. Still he cried. Adam placed him in his stroller, and walked him through the apartment. Nothing
“I think he’s hungry,” Adam shouted to Julia.
“Give him some pumped milk,” she shouted from the bedroom. “Check the side compartment of the fridge next to the mayo. They’re dated. Use the oldest milk first.”
Adam wheeled the stroller to the kitchen and bent down to examine the dates on the bottles. Julia entered the kitchen, perched over him, and plucked out a bottle, immersing it in the
water-filled pan she’d left on the stove for that purpose.
Upon seeing her, Adam felt immediate relief. He expected her to feed Ian but panicked when he realized she was leaving. She’d recently returned to her job as an editor at a women’s fashion magazine. Despite her protests of weight gain, she looked chic in a slim skirt, silk top, and leopard stilettos. She could have been featured inside the magazine’s pages.
“I’ve got to go,” she said, pecking him and Ian with quick kisses. “Margarita will be here soon. Oh, and don’t forget to listen to that message.”
Adam was grateful when Margarita arrived and allowed him to ready for work. He checked his calendar. A day of multiple meetings, the first at a Long Island golf course with an entrepreneur who insisted on discussing investments while strolling the green, pretending it
wasn’t work. Adam didn’t always consider it work either, not with his facility with numbers, his intuitive sense of the markets, and his geniality. He enjoyed bantering with some clients about
their passions, like the Amazon Rainforest or the Uighurs in China, but he actively disliked others. That afternoon, his schedule included some of his least favorite people-- a couple who
brought their yappy, aggressive, and excessively groomed pups to the office, an heiress who wore more makeup and bling than some drag queens, and an arrogant twenty-something tech bro
who’d made bajillions on a silly gimmick and pointedly challenged Adam’s recommendations.
Just thinking of them exhausted him.
He looked in his closet for something casual to wear to the golf course. Julia had helped him organize it, but she’d pruned it of his most comfortable clothes, including his favorite blue and gold U-M sweatshirt. Lately, he’d resorted to wearing his grandfather’s old Perry Como-style cardigans. They made him look frumpy and older than his 37 years, but he secretly delighted in how they mortified Julia. For a moment, he thought of Yolanda’s frayed Che-Guevara “T” shirts. Julia would’ve had a field day kondo-izing her closet.
Before leaving the house, he listened to Yolanda’s message. It was too early to call the west coast. Besides, he needed a plan. Given his schedule the next few days, it would be difficult to sneak out for more than a sandwich. He decided to call later that afternoon.
Hours later, as dotted grids of light emerged from the sleek, aluminum towers on the horizon, he sat at his desk and contemplated his call to Yolanda. A wave of lustiness swept through him. He picked up his phone. Julia’s photo stared back, arresting him. He’d snapped it
photo himself when they’d gone backpacking. Shorn of all makeup, Julia would be miffed to see her naked face so prominently displayed. He looked at his phone again. It was just a call. Putting
it off meant he wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about Yolanda. Quickly, he punched the numbers. The phone rang until a recorded voice answered. Damn it! The limbo of meeting her, the how, what, and when of it, would not end with this call.
Somewhere in the middle of the country, Yolanda sat on a plane and peered at the gray fluff outside her window. She’d never been to New York, not even as a tourist. Now she headed
there for an interview with a national organization. At times the opportunity exhilarated her; most times, it frayed her nerves. She wished she’d already landed, interviewed, and made
decisions about where she’d work, live. Find love again. It was the not-knowing, the messy muddle in the middle, that rattled her. The Bloody Mary she’d guzzled hadn’t helped, but the
flight attendant was coming down the aisle again.
After taking her order, the flight attendant handed her a small package of pretzels. A woman with a young toddler across the aisle received some too. The little boy grabbed the package and started crushing the little pouch. The woman pulled it away, prompting the toddler to wail. Even watching his tears escalate into a tantrum, Yolanda knew she wanted a child. The idea had swelled from a vague sentiment to a desperate yearning. Esteban had scorned her
longing. Now that they’d parted, maybe it was possible.
It had been two months since she’d left Esteban and the separation still felt raw. It wasn’t as though she hadn’t considered leaving him before; it was that she’d lived with him for so long
it was difficult to imagine life without him. He was like that sweater Mami had gifted her--moth-chewed and unwearable, but difficult to discard, especially for the sentimental likes of her.
In a burst of honesty, she’d told Esteban she’d slept with a woman. It had been so delightfully unexpected she hadn’t been able to contain it. She’d forgiven his prior infidelities.
Occasional distractions, he called them. She’d assumed he’d accept her new exploration the same way. Instead, he became livid and accused her of accepting his indiscretions out of
indifference. What she love, he charged, was her work. The argument had exposed old wounds.
There was no turning back.
Twelve years her senior, Esteban had been her lover and her mentor. She’d been smitten with him, his poetry and erudite speech. But she’d outgrown him. It now occurred to her that he hadn’t wanted children because he still saw and treated her as a child. Would she meet someone in New York, a city where she knew no one? Well, almost no one--a married ex-boyfriend with a new baby who hadn’t responded to her attempted contacts was essentially no one. What had possessed her to call him?
The truth was, after leaving Esteban, she’d been assessing all her relationships. She’d begun thinking about Adam, how he suddenly appeared everywhere she went, how he pampered
her, made her feel special. Once, not long after they’d begun living together, he spontaneously treated her to a weekend in the wine country. He led a charmed life. She wished she could land
into a life like that. Instead, she’d fallen for an older, critically-minded professor. Why were the dead poets he taught more important than the breathing young immigrants she organized? What
might’ve happened if she hadn’t left Adam? Impulsively, she’d reached for her cell and punched the old number she had for him. How stupidly cliché to call an ex after breaking up with your
boyfriend. Thankfully, the flight attendant arrived with her drink.
That evening, Ian slept peacefully in his infant seat while Julia and Adam ate dinner.
“This chicken’s too spicy,” Julia said.
“Really? I think it’s great.”
“You’d eat fire if they served it,” Julia said. “I’m going to talk to Margarita.” She pushed her plate aside. “Hey, you’ve never told me about Yolanda. Have I met her? Was she at the wedding?”
Adam shook his head.
“She sounds, um..foreign. She’s got an accent.”
“Funny. I never thought about it, but I guess she does. She was born here but her parents are Central American.
“Tell me about her,” Julia said. She had that eager anticipation women sometimes get when talking with girlfriends, like juicy gossip was at hand, the kind that thrived at her estrogen-
“What do you want to know?”
“What does she do?”
“She was an activist. She talked into bullhorns at demonstrations, that sort of thing. She was passionate.” He said it a little too admiringly, and added, “I haven’t seen her in years.”
“How long did you date?”
“We didn’t live together long.” He squinted. “Maybe a year or so when I lived in San Francisco.”
“Lived together? You never told me you lived with anyone.”
“A year in your early 20’s is a long time,” she said, adding, “Were you in love?”
Adam rubbed his right temple with his index finger and looked at his son. No matter how he answered, it would be wrong.
“I don’t know if I knew what love was back then.” He hoped his eyebrows weren’t arching. He rose from the table to pick up the plates.
“She sounds interesting. Should we invite her over?”
Adam thought he’d rather have a root canal. “I’ll call her,” he said.
“No, you’re too busy. I’ll do it. The magazine is featuring activists next spring. Maybe I could talk to her about it.”
"Whatever,” he said, acting as nonchalant as he could.
That night, as he’d done every night since he’d received her email message, Adam thought about Yolanda--what it would be like to see her? Did she still have that long mane of luscious hair? He loved burying his entire face in it, kissing that mischievous jaguar tattoo on the
base of her neck. She must want to see him; she’d been persistent. By now, she’d know he was married. That didn’t mean he couldn’t see her. It would all be above board. He’d cancel some
meetings and meet her for lunch. No, he’d rather have an intimate dinner. Maybe at that little French Bistro in the neighborhood. No, too close to home. Maybe more uptown, near his office.
He’d tell Julia he had a late-night client. Was this how people began cheating? Was he following his father’s footsteps?
Late that Saturday morning, Yolanda practically floated down an avenue toward the subway. Was it possible to fall in love so quickly and so hard, not with a person, but with a group of people? With an organization? She’d just completed her third and final interview, this
last one with the staff. They’d scheduled it for an hour but it had lasted more than two. She finally understood what it was like when as a child she’d waited impatiently for her parents to say final goodbyes, but they kept talking. There was so much more to say.
The organization’s team consisted of over two dozen people and hailed from everywhere--Canada, Senegal, China, Ecuador, Mexico. A few were lawyers, but the majority were young organizers, some reminded her of herself at that age—bright, full of energy, ready to take on the world and make it better. And to think, they wanted her to lead them.
She walked quickly until she spotted the green globes at the subway entrance. After several days of becoming hopelessly lost, she was finally getting to know the system. She hurried down the steps to her train. She didn’t need to look at her watch to know she was going
to be late. She should’ve declined the invitation, but Adam’s wife had insisted, saying she wanted to talk about her fashion magazine. Would they have anything in common?
While Julia stood amidst recipes in the kitchen, Adam offered to take Ian for a walk.
“He needs airing,” he said, as though the baby was a type of linen. The stroll to the tot lot was more for Adam--a futile attempt to clear his cobwebbed obsessions. He gathered his son’s stroller and diaper bag and walked out the door. How could he have gotten himself into this fix? He’d wanted Yolanda on his own terms, but had allowed Julia to take over. Maybe he could pull Yolanda aside, make other plans. Adam returned just minutes before her scheduled arrival. Inside the apartment, he heard the first stirrings of Vivaldi’s “Spring” fluttering from the stereo. Even though she never played it when they were alone, Julia played classical music when they entertained. He’d never asked her why.
Entering the dining room, he noticed the spread Julia had arranged on the table: a variety of bagels, lox and cream cheese, a platter filled with wedges of cantaloupes, sliced kiwis, and bunches of grapes garnished with sprigs of fresh mint and lavender. She’d even baked her
grandmother’s sour cream coffee cake.
When did Julia shop and prepare so much food? He stood back and watched his wife dart back and forth between the kitchen and dining room.
“You didn’t have to do this,” he said.
“I wanted to. I never cook anymore, let alone bake.”
Adam ate a ripe grape and let its juice burst inside his mouth.
“You can’t have any of these yet, Buddy,” he said to Ian, picking him up and propping him on his lap. Perhaps sensing his father’s nervousness, Ian fussed.
“He’s hungry, needs a nap, or both,” Julia said from the kitchen.
She picked him up, slunk onto the divan, and began nursing him. Moments later, the rich milk had its narcotic effects. If only Adam could borrow some of his calm. He sat on his easy chair, flipping through one magazine after another without seeing any words. He sensed Julia’s eyes on him.
When the doorbell rang, Adam’s sprang up and dashed downstairs. Through the curtained, glass door, he saw Yolanda’s silhouette. She’d replaced her long hair with a short, flirty bob. And, the woman who’d once boasted about a jeans-only wardrobe was wearing a dark wool suit. Would anything be left of the woman he kept spooling through his thoughts?
Despite the flickering from his fingertips to his heart, he hugged her lightly, recalling her delicate features, not wanting to let go. He released her and looked at her. She smiled and
radiated beauty, even sexiness inside her boxy suit.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” she said. “My meeting ran over.”
“I’m glad you came,” he said. “Our place is upstairs."
They reached the apartment and from the middle of the living room came a solid, confident, “Hi, I’m Julia.” She shook Yolanda’s hand. “That little guy sleeping is Ian.”
Adam noticed the two women sizing each other up. While Julia would never be caught dead in such a classic suit, she’d probably give Yolanda passing marks for the entire ensemble.
She was petite and pretty, with large inquisitive eyes and thick eyelashes.
“I love your place,” Yolanda said, walking through the living room that opened into the dining area. Adam watched her eye the room and saw the apartment anew—the posh Pottery Barn feel Julia cultivated. Even the tulips on the coffee table exuded a certain panache, as though they’d been sculpted to fit the décor.
“I was ecstatic when I saw it,” Julia said. “It’s so central, just three stops from work. And I love the way the sun streams into these rooms, especially in the mornings. Would you like some coffee? A mimosa?”
“Coffee please,” Yolanda said.
Julia poured some into a mug and showed Yolanda the cream and sugar bowls. “What brings you to New York?” Julia asked.
Yolanda sipped from the mug. “A job interview. I met with staff this morning.”
“Yolanda was featured in The Atlantic for her work with immigrant youth.” Adam said.
Both women looked at him as if questioning how he knew this.
“I googled her,” he said, “dozens of articles came up.”
“I googled her too,” Julia said, “for the magazine. You work with immigrant kids, right?”
“Not just kids,” Yolanda said, “immigrants. Lots of young people struggle without legal status. So do their parents.”
“Our babysitter is from Colombia,” Julia said, “I wonder if she’s got immigration problems. I’ve never thought to ask.”
“She might,” Yolanda said, “Colombia went through a deadly civil war.”
Julia probably never heard of it, Adam thought, not unless the magazine had covered it.
“Oh,” Julia said. “When was the last time the two of you saw each other?”
Yolanda turned to Adam. “I don’t know, five, six years?”
“You weren’t at our wedding six years ago,” Julia said.
“I didn’t even hear about it until afterwards.”
“That’s strange,” Julia said, “Your name was on the list.”
“You can’t trust the post office,” Adam said.
Julia eyed her husband. Were his eyebrows betraying him?
“What was Adam like back then?” Julia asked.
Yolanda paused. “He read lots of Latin American literature and he taught fourth graders. He was a great teacher. Totally devoted to those kids. Until he suddenly left mid-term.”
“Why did you leave so suddenly,” Julia asked.
Adam cringed. Because I was devastated when Yolanda left, he wanted to shout. He merely shrugged.
Just then, Ian popped awake. All eyes turned on him.
“Can I hold him?” Yolanda said.
“Sure, Julia said, lifting him from the infant seat and handing him over.
Yolanda held him for just a moment before he started crying.
“It’s not you. He’s fussy,” Julia said. “I think he needs his diaper changed. He’s probably a little hungry too. Please excuse me. I’ll just be a minute.”
As soon as Julia left the room, the baroque violins flitting in swift allegro climaxed and halted, leaving an awkward silence. Adam sat on a chair and Yolanda leaned against a wall.
“I had the most amazing meeting with the staff today,” she said, “but moving across the country is a big deal.”
“What are you leaving behind?” He asked. “Are you involved with anyone?” He tried to sound detached. Yolanda looked down at the tips of her black pumps and sighed. “No. I’d been
living with someone for many years, but we recently parted. Her face grew solemn.
Adam had a powerful urge to touch her, to feel the flesh of the woman who haunted his dreams, taste the zest so distinctly Yolanda. She was looking at him with that penetrating way of
hers. It was as though she was an undertow, dragging him. His clammy hands trembled and his heart jittered as though it might crack in pieces. More than anything, he desperately wanted to
hold her. As if possessed, he watched himself leave the couch, reach her, and place his arms around her while finding her lips.
He felt her jerk away.
The next moment, Adam heard Julia’s footsteps in the corridor. He sprung from Yolanda, but still had the flush of a boy caught sneaking bills from his mother’s purse.
Julia entered the room with Ian on her hip.
“Adam?” she said.
“I need to go,” Yolanda said. “Thanks for everything.” She picked up her backpack and walked out the door.
“Adam, what’s going on?” Julia asked.
He seemed as if in a spell, but when Yolanda shut the door, he awakened fully alert.
“I’m sorry, Julia. I’ve got to talk with her.” Right on cue, Ian began wailing again.
Adam dashed out of the apartment and walked fast, finally catching up to Yolanda. She ignored him.
“We need to talk,” he said, walking past cafes, shoppers, and slinking cats. “Yolanda!”
When they arrived at Washington Square, she stopped by a bench and turned around.
“Adam, why are you doing this?”
“Just hear me out.”
“Okay,” she said.
At once he was tongue-tied. “I’m sorry I didn’t invite you to my wedding,” he started.
“Forget it. I survived.”
“That’s not what I wanted to say. I changed my mind about inviting you because, the truth is, I didn’t think I could see you. And. And, not change mind about Julia.”
Yolanda’s expression changed from surprise to irritation.
“You see,” he said, picking up more momentum, “even back then, I hadn’t stopped thinking about us. I loved you.”
“Love? You never ever told me you loved me.”
“I was crazy in love with you.”
“You were infatuated, and I was flattered, but it wasn’t love.”
“Why did you leave me?”
“Phew.” She closed her eyes and for a moment was nothing but eyelashes. “I guess because we’re from different worlds and I didn’t think it would work.”
“What do you mean?”
She sighed. “Remember when you met my Tio Eliseo at my parent’s house? My cousin was leaving for college. You told Tio you loved teaching then asked him what authors he was reading, if he’d read A Hundred Years of Solitude. Tio Eliseo barely finished high school. If he
reads the papers it’s to thumb through the sports pages. You made him feel this big,” she said, holding her index finger to her thumb.
“You could have told me.”
“It’s not the kind of thing you tell. It’s something you just know. Besides, I didn’t think you’d stick around.” Her voice softened. “I don’t mean this in a bad way, but you always struck me as someone who was cruising through life. Like a tourist. Somebody who enjoys visiting,
snapping a few photos, then goes home. I didn’t think you’d have the stamina for the long term.”
“That’s how you thought of me? Why’d you look me up?”
“I was struggling over this job and wanted to talk to someone here in New York, somebody who knew me.”
“It was all over a job?”
A sheepish look came over her. “Well, that’s not it exactly. This thing with Esteban hit me hard,” her voice grew soft. “We separated months ago, and I still feel it. I got this job offer and, well, I wanted to be with people who knew me, and you always made me feel sort of
special. I wanted to feel that again. I now realize it was a mistake.”
“It wasn’t a mistake. I loved you,” Adam insisted, “Maybe I still do.”
Yolanda shook her head. “Adam, if you’d been in love with me, we wouldn’t be talking like this. You know, all this time, I’ve been at the same job, same rent-controlled apartment. You
“You wanted me to call?”
“No, the point is, you didn’t even bother. Not then. Not even now. You didn’t even respond when I emailed you. Seems to me if you want something badly enough, you fight for it."
“Can’t you see I’m fighting for you now.”
“No,” she said, “if you’re in a fight, it’s probably with your wife. If your marriage is unhappy, you should be straight with her. Have you talked?”
Adam lowered his eyes.
“I didn’t think so. At least try to talk. That’s really the only way.”
"What about you?” he asked.
She stared at the ground. “I’ve made some mistakes. Maybe I’m a different kind of tourist, the kind that only sees the work in front of her. Nothing else. She looked directly at him
and scrunched her face. “What’s with the Mr. Roger’s outfit?”
Adam looked at himself. “It’s just a joke.”
“I’ve got to go,” Yolanda said, looking at her watch. “See ya.” With that she turned and walked away.
Adam thought he might cry and sat at the bench for a long while. Had he never told Yolanda he loved her? When was the last time he’d told Julia he loved her? Oh God, Julia! How could he have left her the way he had? Julia, controlling, clothes-conscious, and sometimes catty, was also sweet and generous and thoughtful. She took care of him and Ian both. She deserved
better. Yolanda was right; he had to talk to Julia. He had to be honest. He imagined the years of therapy Julia would insist upon, whether they stayed together or not. What was it Yolanda called him? A tourist? He needed to be a traveler, not a tourist.
He walked to his apartment, only to find it empty, so he returned outside. That’s when he spotted her. With Ian snuggled in his infant carrier on her chest, she wandered aimlessly, her hair
disheveled, her red rimmed eyes flitting in every direction. He walked towards them.
Author Sara Campos is a writer, lawyer, and currently works for a foundation as a program officer. After almost two decades of advocacy on behalf of immigrants and refugees, she obtained an MFA in creative writing from Mills College. Hwe fiction, poetry, essays and nonfiction articles have appeared in various publications including The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the U.S., St. Anne’s Review, Rio Grande Review, Great River Review, 580 Split, Colorlines, AlterNet Media, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She has been awarded fellowships and residencies at Hedgebrook, the Anderson Center, the Mesa Refuge, Letras Latinas, VONA, and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and received an Elizabeth George Foundation grant. Her latest work is in Acentos Review.