“Steps” by Mona Simpson in McSweeney’s 47
“I didn’t believe in forgiveness, particularly.
This all began when I decided to de-clutter my in-box. De-clutter is a compound word that makes Harry say ‘middle-age.’ He jokes about having a lover who wears a dental splint. He’s teasing, but he probably minds my age. I would.
I do. But I’m an actress. If I didn’t mind, I’d be a moron.
I was deleting, deleting, deleting when I came to yet another message from an unknown sender. Dirk Vanderhoff turned out to be my agent’s secretary’s secretary. Apparently, my agent’s secretary, the young woman who always remained on the line when Solange called, had been fielding messages, and after three from the same person, she told Dirk to hear out the caller’s story. She sounded like a decent person, Dirk Vanderhoff wrote, so they didn’t know if I’d want them to pass my numbers along? The caller had told this assistant’s assistant that her boyfriend was the son of my once-upon-a-time stepfather, Bruce Justin.
‘Sure,’ I must have zinged, then delete!”