#amreading a Short Story: “Rubicon” by Olga Zilberbourg

The spring came on hard and much too early this year, which must be why the dimensions of reality shifted. It was a January afternoon in San Francisco. The sun was shining. I was on my way to pick up my son from pre-school, about to cross the street and enter a small undernourished park.

A shiny red jeep veered out of traffic. It made a left turn and pulled onto the crosswalk in front of me. The word “Rubicon” in blocky silver letters shone on its side. Behind the wheel was this kid I used to be close to in Russia, back in the 1990s, still seventeen on this day in 2018, the shock of chestnut hair cresting high over his forehead. On the sleeve of his overcoat snow was quickly melting. He leaned down and through the open window handed me a TDK compact cassette, the exact kind he and I used to exchange in high school.

About Olga Zilberbourg:

  • She is the author of three Russian-language story collections. Her English-language fiction and criticism has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Narrative Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Common, and Electric Literature. Born in Leningrad, USSR, she studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Goethe Institute in Germany, and San Francisco State University, where she earned an M.A. in Comparative Literature. She has worked as an associate editor at Narrative Magazine and currently lives in San Francisco with her family.

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