I worked at the seafood place, I took pride in meeting my table’s needs without them even having to notice me. Once a man dumped a whole wine glass across my chest because I was so quiet refilling his water. Hannah is the other kind. I watch her chat up a table of middle age ladies, “Yes! That book changed my life! It made me want to go to India and Italy!” My freshman year of high school, I decided I couldn’t be friends with Hannah anymore because she did things like go to the mall and wax her eyebrows and I wanted to live in a cabin without electricity. One afternoon, I dropped off a huge box of the magazines and clothes and jewelry she’d given me over the years. That was the year I tried to widdle my possessions down to one hundred objects, after I’d painted a shaky Emerson quote across my door frame: SOLITUDE, THE SAFEGUARD OF MEDIOCRITY, IS TO GENIUS THE STERN FRIEND. I told Hannah I would still see her at school but it would probably be hard to get in touch with me from then on because I was giving up my cell phone and fossil fuels. She sent me postcards for a year. Hannah disappears behind the swinging doors. No one’s texted me so I scroll slowly through Instagram. A girl from my sixth grade drama camp is eating fried cheese curds in North Carolina. Someone slaps the part of my ass that’s hanging over the bar stool. I turn around. Fedora and snake tattoo. “Yo Rosenberg!” “Hey!” I squeak. I still get kind of nervous around Lizzie because she doesn’t seem to realize how much cooler she is than me. Also, when they were first hooking up, Hannah told me that Lizzie likes to get her nipples clamped and now that’s all I can think about. “Is she off yet?” “I don’t think so. Last I saw she was quoting Eat, Pray, Love for a table of Cambridge housewives.” Lizzie snorts and leans against the bar stool next to me, “What a flirt.” We are quiet for a second and I worry we don’t have anything to talk about without Hannah. “Hey, does this look like a 22 | PHOEBE 48.1
Fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and art selected for phoebe's Winter 2019 issue.