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a p r o n

s t r i n g s


m o l l y

k o e n e m a n

Sox. With numbers, everything was easy; everything was valid and proven, solvable. Why couldn’t life be more like that, more right and wrong, black and white, even and odd? It seemed that math was the only thing reasonable in the world. Graduating from high school, Elizabeth knew she wanted to do what her dad did and study accounting. But she still couldn’t make the world fit into the lines and columns of a spreadsheet. Six months out of college, and she was back home with her parents. Going out drinking with her friends, sitting in that wingback chair, and watching sports consumed her life. “You’re not going out tonight,” her dad said. “I wasn’t planning on it.” She tried to make it sound funny, but it came out like vomit, coated in an acid her body rejected. “How about dinner?” “Your mom won’t be home till late.” “I can cook. What sounds good?” She rolled her head against the back of the chair and looked at her dad. “Whatever we have.” He huffed and pulled out a stack of papers from his desk. “Here—they’re entry level jobs at a few firms. I already wrote in your references.” “Firms?” Elizabeth asked as she took the stack. “Accounting firms?” “That’s the education you have. That’s what you said you wanted to pursue.” “I don’t know anymore.” William pinched the narrow part of his nose and sighed. “You’re not going to find a job like this. You can’t live with us forever.” “But I don’t know what—” “Elizabeth, you’re not a child anymore. You have to do something with your life. I’m giving you three months.” “Three months to do what?” Elizabeth asked, standing up 82

and dropping the pages into the chair. “To get a job and find an apartment.” “Dad!” “No, that’s the end of the discussion.” William stared at her with the stern expression his wife usually owned. Stunned and feeling somehow betrayed by her dad—the loving, protective dad she depended on when she squared off with her mom—she collected the job applications and left the room. Hands shaking, Elizabeth felt hot all over, suffocated. She was being kicked out of her house; her own dad was kicking her out. Retracing her footsteps, she went outside, slammed the door behind her, and got into her car, throwing the applications in the back seat. Unnerving, that’s what this was. She wanted to beat her mom and make her cry, to throw clumps of mulch at Mr. Augustine, to wrestle her dad to the ground until he was still. She wanted to be different, but she wanted everything to stay as it was. She wanted to hate Ben, to hurt Ben, and she wanted Ben to love her. But most of all she just wanted. Traffic began to add to her irritation, so she made Ben’s apartment her destination. Fueled by her current irritation, she planned to demand of him the things she desired. He answered the door, saying, “Where’d you go last night?” Elizabeth crossed her arms and took a step back. “What do you mean?” “Last night. I go to take a piss, and then you’re gone.” “I left, okay?” She pressed her way past Ben into his apartment. “Was I supposed to wait for you?” Shutting the door, he crossed the room and stood in front of her. “Well.” His voice sounded a little strained. “I wanted to give you a ride home. You weren’t fit to drive.” “Oh, I didn’t drive,” she lied.

Profile for Katya Cummins

Niche Magazine No. 1  

Niche is an online literary magazine that was designed to be limitless. It aims to provide a place where an array of voices, from experimen...

Niche Magazine No. 1  

Niche is an online literary magazine that was designed to be limitless. It aims to provide a place where an array of voices, from experimen...

Profile for nichelit