Justin Campbell is the winner of the 2013 Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation Award for African American Writers. He is currently a Graduate Teaching Fellow studying Creative Writing and Literature at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Ca. His fiction has been published or is forthcoming in 34th Parallel Literary Magazine, The Conium Review, The Faircloth Review, and others. His non-fiction can be found on the theology and culture blog The Two Cities. He lives with his wife and son in Whittier, CA.
Your Life Is Not Your Own
an excerpt from the story
Always one to “do the right,” she’d spent most of her teen and college years preparing for impending nuptials. Every singles ward fireside, birthday party, family vacation, and wedding became an exercise in endurance. If she found herself having fun at one of these events and she was not with a man, she stopped herself and went to look for one with whom to share her time. She met Carlos this way, at a mixer for people leaving for their various Missions. The men who had made two- year commitments would leave the following week for the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. There, they would undergo intensive foreign language courses and learn the Gospel principles so that they could share them with the people they met around the world.
When she met Carlos, he did not look like a Carlos to her. He looked more like a John, or a Daniel; his skin was fair and his eyes were bluish green, and his nose reminded her of her father’s. They talked about John Mayer and the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, which they both liked to watch every year with their families at Christmas.