__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

Spring 2015

Thoroughfare

J o h n s Ho pk in s U n iv e rsi ty

Asylum


“ H er e ’s to th e cr a zy on es. The m is fit s . The re be ls. Th e t r o u b l e m a ke rs . The r ou n d p eg s in t he s quare h ole s. Th e o n es w h o se e th i n g s d iffer en t ly. They’ r e not fond of rule s. A n d t h e y h a v e no r es p ect for t he s t at u s quo. You c an quote t h em , d is a g re e w i t h t hem , g lor ify or vilify the m. About t h e o n ly th ing y o u can ’ t d o is ig n or e t hem. Be c ause the y ch a n g e th i ng s . They p u s h t he hu m an r ace forward. And w h i l e som e m a y see t hem as t he cr az y one s, we se e ge nius. B eca us e th e p e op le who ar e cr az y en ou g h to th ink the y c a n ch a n g e th e w or ld , ar e t he on es w ho d o. ” — St ev e Job s


Contents AGE-A R T 2

O UR NINT H S YM P H O NY

36

G R A N DMA’S TRU CK

THE SUM MI T

37

IN T E NTION S 3

NAILED IT-A R T

38

T H E M EDICI PAL ACE-AR T

4

CO BWEB S -A R T 39

BLOWIN G U P

6

SE VENT Y O R E I G H T CH R I S TMA S E S

40 41

2

W IL L’S SWEATER

11

THE ELEC T I O N T E AM

DAMP SOEU L : OL D AN D FREE-AR T

12

AT T H E TEMPLE-AR T

13

SO NOW I J U S T C A LL T H AT BA LD G U Y DYNAM ITE H A N D 45

P E AC H FU ZZ

14

T H E TOAST

15

EG G S IN A N EST

17

U N T ITLED FLOREN CE MA-A R T

18

K H A D IJA 19 H O O K , L IN E, AN D DEAD

20

AR IZON A 21

VO LC ANO -A R T 46 EATING 47 SHWEDAGO N G PAG O DA-A R T

48

SUM M ITS 49 STAGES O F MA N

50

B R EAD & RO S E S , G O LD RU S H , T H E F E M I N I N E M YSTIQ UE, A N D M R S . LE BE AU 51

DAYBREAK ON TH E H ARBOR

22

PAT TER NE D J E W I S H S I LKS O N S I LE N T GR EEK MA N N E Q U I N S 57

MU LT IPL E PERSON ALIT Y D ISO R DER

25

THE FIR ST T I M E

58

S TO R IES OF BLOOD

28

THE FEAR I N YO U R BLO O D

64

4 0 4 PA SSAIC AV E

31

LIT TLE AS T R O N AU T

65

G OS S IP-AR T 32

XAVIER 66

T H E WOOD C AR V ER AN D THE MAR IO N E T TE 33

B LUE WINDOW-A R T

BACK COV E R


A nge l i ca M o rgan “ A ge ”

Gr a n dm a ’s T r u c k K a t her i n e Q u i n n

Th e ru st ed y ello w p i c ku p s i t s a c r o s s th e yard : i t s s c r a t c hy , r a g g ed, em p t y s ea t s , stand slou c hi n g , ba r e. A weddi n g g i f t — i t s t i ll h alf -reek s o f m u ddy di r t , p o lka do t bo o t s and Gran dm a ’s c r u s t y f eet . T he ho o d i s s t u c k, stu bborn, r ef u s i n g t o o p en o r c lo s e, and h alf t he t r u n k i s f u ll o f ba s i l s eeds th at leak a lo n g t he r o a d. I n s i de i t s bed, among the g a r den t o o ls , I ’d o f t en li e and h id e f r o m o lder c o u s i n s , Mo m a n d D a d, f rom anyo n e a t a ll. S o m et i m es s t i ll n o w, I trac e th e m a n y n i c ks , t he g r o o ves — t he c u t s , th e sc abs — a r o u n d t he c r ea ky do o r s . S o m et i m es still now I c r a wl i n s i de a n d t u r n t he key . Its engin e g u r g les , c r u n c hi n g , t hen i t g r o a n s — a gasp —it r o a r s t o li f e. S o m et i m es s t i ll n o w we’ll ru m ble do wn t he qu i et s t r eet s bef o r e th e d awn , t he r a g g ed, r u s t y , y ello w da wn .

2


Intentions Eliz abeth Gee

D o n’t e xpl o i t t he s i t uation,

My mom yells a t her ,

is w hat I say,

It’s too lou d, i t ’s t o o lo u d,

And y o u k no w w hat? It

Sh e d oesn’t m o ve,

d o e sn’ t s me l l har sh and c old ,

I c an’t tell

c l ini cal l i k e t o o much bleac h or

if h er eyes a r e o p en o r c lo s ed,

a mmo ni a. T he l i ght s

I watc h so m et hi n g dr i p i n t o a t u be,

a r e n’t

I tell myself t ha t I ’m n o t a llo wed

o v e r l y br i ght,

to write abo u t i t .

t h ey do n’ t b ur n y o ur e y e s e ve n

I? Bu t it sho u ldn ’t be

whe n the y’ r e cl o s e d.

abou t me.

T hi s i s no t j ust ano ther th ing to write ab ou t.

Sh e eith er li s t en s o r d oesn’t wh en I spea k

I t s me l l s l i k e l uk e w ar m

too qu iet f o r

c a fe t e r i a fo o d,

even some o n e

Lunchme at and bo xe d milk

wh o isn’t c o m a t o s e

o f e l e me nt ar y scho o l is th e

to h ear.

c l ose st t hi ng t o i t , T he l i ghts ar e fi ne .

3


T he M e di ci P al ace

4


F lo r en c e Ma

5


Bl o w i ng Up A ye sha Sh ibli

I ’ d h e ar d i t w as an acci dent, bu t everyone and t h eir mo the r k ne w that Sarah Brigh tly h ad k il l e d he r se l f. I di dn’t give my op inion eith er wa y , fi gur i ng I ne ve r k new h er well enou gh . T h e fact that i t w as “ qui te su d d en,” was wh is p e r ed amo ng al l t he go s sip ing h ou sewives o u t si de M r s. Br i ghtl y’ s revolving f ront d oor, wit h s o me o f t he i r hands lad en with c asserole d is h e s o r Tuppe r w ar e and oth ers’ f resh ly re l ie v e d o f t he w e i ght. “ Bu t not so su d d en,” a few o f the m w e r e apt t o h iss bac k. Th ey sp oke a s if the y’ d k no w n he r . I ’ d ne ve r k no w n a de ad p erson bef ore. I’d like t o t hi nk Uncl e A ndr e w did n’t c ou nt bec au se I ’ d onl y k no w n hi m a l i t tle bit bef ore h e was d e a d. Sar ah w as n’ t l i k e Unc le And rew. I’d k n o wn he r a fe w mo nths longer; sh e’d moved t o t o w n i n t he mi ddl e o f eigh th grad e. Sh e wa s i n s cho o l the day bef ore it h ap p ened , and s h e di dn’ t s ay a w o r d to me at all d u ring Mrs. Mo l nar ’ s thi r d pe r i o d English c lass. Sh e d id n’t t a l k to a l o t o f pe o pl e , bu t no one was c ou nting h o w many w o r ds she ’ d said at th at time.

Now, everyone ha d a n o p i n i o n o n i t . “Sh e was talkin g les s , g et t i n g qu i et er ever y d ay.” “Sh e only said a who le o f f o u r wo r ds t o m e. Th at girl was bu r s t i n g a t t he s ea m s t o t ell someone somethi n g .” *** Mom and R ic h a r d c a m e i n t o m y r o o m a n d asked me h ow I f elt a bo u t S a r a h when we f ou nd ou t, bu t I t o ld t hem i t wa s f i n e. W ell, not f ine, bu t oka y . S he wo u ldn ’t be a t s c ho o l on Mond ay, or s i t n ex t t o m e du r i n g En g li s h. Sh e wou ld n’t sa y t wo wo r ds t o m e, bu t s he never d id , so it wa s o ka y . Th en th ey asked m e i f I wa n t ed t o g o t o t he f u neral. “It’s okay i f y o u f eel li ke y o u ’r e n o t read y,” Mom sa i d, s i t t i n g a t t he f o o t o f m y bed . “I d on’t wa n t y o u t o f eel li ke y o u ha ve t o go.” I u nd erst a n d why s he t ho u g ht I s ho u ldn ’t go to th e f u nera l. Even t ho u g h I di dn ’t kn o w Unc le And rew t ha t lo n g , I di dn ’t t a ke hi s dea t h too well. Or so I ’ve hea r d.

6


I d o n ’ t r eme mbe r much abo ut it, and I d on’t r e m e m b er the fune r al at al l .

Unc le And rew, like R i c ha r d, ju s t n eeded t o be c lose to h is p arents .

Sometimes Mom wou ld let m e g o t o R i c ha r d’s

“ Y eah, buddy. If yo u w a nt, I c an stay

h o m e with y o u w hi l e yo ur mom goes.” R ic h ard o ffe r in g to st ay w i t h me w as nic e. Ever sinc e h is b r o t h e r ’s de ath, he al w ay s seemed like h e did n ’ t k no w ho w to act ar o und me. Noth ing m a j o r , just t hat he l o o k e d at me as if h e want e d t o s a y I’ m so r r y. “ No , it ’s fi ne . Re al l y. Eve r yo ne is going to be t h e r e a n y w ay .” I w as n’ t s ur e I wanted to see e v e r y o n e t ho ugh; i t j us t s e e med like th e only t h in g t o say. M o m k is se d my fo r e he ad w i t h an “Okay, sweet ie,” a n d u s he r e d Ri char d o ut th e d oor bef ore t ur n in g a r o und. It w as al mo st as if sh e knew t h a t I was sudde nl y unsur e . “ A c t u a l l y, M o m? Can I t hi nk abou t it?” I a s k e d . I s aw he r no d t o me bef ore c losing my do o r . H er e ’s what I r e me mbe r abo ut Unc le And rew. I wa s n ’t suppo s e d to se e Unc le And rew th at da y . I w a s i n se co nd gr ade w hen h e c ame bac k t o t o wn a nd mo ve d i n w i t h G rand ma R ose and P o p . I t w as suppo se d to be for a little wh ile, P o p h a d sai d; i t w as o nl y te m p orary. 7

p arents’ h ou se af ter s c ho o l. S he’d g i ve t he bu s d river a note to d ro p m e o f f a t Gr a n dm a R o s e and Pop ’s, bu t some t i m es I wo u ld wr i t e t he note on th e bu s and t ell t he dr i ver I ’d f o r g o t ten to give it to h im . W hen I s a w U n c le An d rew’s tru c k f rom do wn t he s t r eet , I r em em bered h ow h e p laye d ba s eba ll wi t h m e la s t weekend so I wrote u p a n o t e a n d s i g n ed i t A. Mason. h e bu s d rive r di dn ’t even r ea d i t a s h e let me of f at th e s t o p s i g n a t t he en d o f t he street.

“Sh e wa s tal k i ng l es s, g ett i n g qu i eter ever y d ay.” I’d ru n u p toward the c a r f i r s t bec a u s e i t wa s p arked in th e d rive wa y a s i f U n c le An dr ew ha d ju st p u lled in f or a m o m en t . I t o s s ed m y ba c k p ac k on th e grass a s I wa lked t o t he c a r . I ’d met Unc le And rew la s t week, bu t I di dn ’t kn o w anyth ing abou t R ic h a r d’s li t t le br o t her . Ma y be h e was th e typ e to g et m a d a bo u t f a ke n o t es . I tap p ed on th e win do w a t lea s t f o u r t i m es be f ore I notic ed no on e wa s i n s i de.


I t w a s a pr e t ty bad par k ing job, bu t I’d h eard R ichar d say that Uncl e And rew was “going t h r ough so me thi ng “ t hese d ays. T h is i s the par t I can’ t r emember too well. I’ve b e en ask e d to te l l i t t o a lot of p eop le. Th e p o l ic e w ante d to k no w , th e d oc tors wanted to k n o w, t he t he r api s t w anted to know. No one b e l ie ve d me w he n I s ai d I saw noth ing. I went in s ide , and the n I saw noth ing. I s a w no t hi ng fo r a l o ng time. I d on’t remem b e r the fune r al . *** Mo nday mo r ni ng i s st r ange with ou t Sarah . I t h o u ght i t w as go i ng to be okay, bec au se it was n ev er a bi g de al w he n sh e was th ere. Bu t now ev er yo ne i s mak i ng a bi g d eal th at sh e’s not t h er e , and i t’ s har d t o ac t normal. It’s even h a r de r be cause e ve r yo ne knows I d id n’t go t o h e r fune r al . The y po i nt ou t h er emp ty seat n ex t t o me i n Engl i sh as if to remind me th at s h e ’ s de ad. T he y st ar t talking abou t h ow sh e h a n ge d he r s e l f o ut l o ud. “ H e r fat he r ’ s ti e . I no ti c ed h e wasn’t wearing o n e at the fune r al .” “ T h e po o r man— ”

“—Th e p oor f am i ly . ” *** I c ou ld n’t go to S a r a h’s f u n er a l. I s t a r t ed ha v ing weird d ream s a g a i n , li ke I u s ed t o when Unc le And rew di ed. T hey wer en ’t a bo u t S a r a h, or Unc le And rew, t ho u g h. T hey wer e a bo u t m e, ju st like last tim e. H ere’s th e d rea m : I ’m ly i n g i n m y bed a n d t he ligh t is f raming m y do o r wa y i n t he s a m e p a t tern as every n i g ht , a br i g ht r ec t a n g le i n m y d ark room. I’m ly i n g i n m y bed a n d I c a n ’t move. I c an see t he li g ht , a n d I c a n s ee t he glow of my alar m c lo c k t i n t m y r o o m blu e. F o r some reason, I a lwa y s wa n t t o t u r n a n d t a ke my c loc k in my ha n ds a n d s ee t he t i m e. I ju s t want to see th e t i m e. I c a n ’t m o ve. T hen s o m e th ing is p ressing m e. S o m et hi n g i s p r es s i n g and p ressing m e u n t i l i t f eels li ke m y br a i n i s abou t to exp lod e. Th e nigh t bef or e S a r a h’s f u n er a l, I dr ea m t t ha t someth ing was s t a n di n g o n m y t hr o a t . I f elt i t p ressing and p r es s i n g u n t i l m y t hr o a t c r a c kled and snap p ed lik e o ld s n a kes ki n . Th e next morni n g I t o ld Mo m I c o u ldn ’t g o t o Sarah ’s f u neral bec a u s e I wa s dea d.

8


I k n o w t h at I’ m no t de ad and I know th at Sar a h is . I a lso k no w t hat Uncl e And rew is. Bu t I d o n ’ t u nde r s t and w hy I’ m not d ead . I f elt it h a p pe n bo th t i me s . I fe l t my h ead exp lod e and m y b r a in s spl att e r acr o s s G r and ma R ose’s yel l o w k it c h e n w al l s , l o o k i ng l i ke th e time I tried t o m a k e re d ve l ve t cak e and th e mixer c ame l o o s e fr o m the bo w l , spr ay i ng everyth ing in da r k r e d . I fe l t my he ad e xpl od e f rom th e c eil in g fa n fa l l i ng o n t o p o f my head , bu t I was too t a n g l e d in Ri char d’ s st r i pe d blu e tie to move. I fe l t it h a p pe n.

O n S u n day ni ght, M o m ask e d me if I remem b er e d wh at s he to l d me afte r Unc le And rew died. I t ’s st r ange . I do and I d on’t. I d on’t r e m e m b er he r s i t ti ng do w n and telling me; I do n ’t r eme mbe r w hat I w as wearing or h er. I jus t r e m e mbe r ask i ng w hy it h ap p ened and w h a t s h e to l d me . “ S o m e t ime s pe o pl e ar e unhapp y, Tommy,” M o m s a id. “ So me ti me s the y’ re ju st so u nh ap p y t h a t n o t hi ng can mak e t he m f eel h ap p y any m o r e.” I di dn’t ne e d to ask how th ey stop p ed fe el in g u nhappy . “ D o t h e y fe e l i t?” I as k e d i ns tead . 9

“Oh , h oney. I d on’t kn o w i f t hey f eel a n y t hi n g at th at p oint. I th ink t hey wa n t t o f eel s o ba d th at th ey’re willing t o f eel a n y t hi n g . Even t he p ain.”

I told Mom I remem ber ed t he g i s t o f i t a n d n o , I d id n’t h ave any qu es t i o n s a bo u t S a r a h. B u t I d id h ave qu estions, ju s t n o t f o r Mo m . I wa n t ed to ask Sarah if sh e felt a n y t hi n g . I wa n t ed t o ask h ow it f elt to f e el n o t hi n g , t o m a ke s u r e th at I wasn’t th e sam e. I c o u ldn ’t t ell wha t I was f eeling. It f elt l i ke t o o m u c h. Li ke blo wi n g u p a balloon, exc ept I f elt em p t y i n s i de. Em p t y and so f u ll of air I m i g ht bu r s t . I wa n t ed t o a s k Sarah if h er way wa s t he o n ly wa y t o m a ke i t go away. *** Th e rest of Mond ay i s ju s t a s s t r a n g e. I s t a r t t o f eel f u nny af ter Eng li s h, bu t I do n ’t a s k Mr s . Molnar if I c an go t o t he n u r s e. I wo u ldn ’t know h ow to d esc ribe ho w I ’m f eeli n g . By sixth p eriod , I ca n ’t ea t lu n c h. I keep s t a r ing at th e c af eteria wa lls . B r en t s ho ves N a t e against th e wall, sen di n g hi s t r a y f ly i n g . T he walls are yellow, but t hey ha ve r ed s p a g het t i sp lotc h es on th em.


Lik e br ai ns. Nate ’ s no s e starts to bleed . I try t o gi ve hi m my napk i n, bu t th en Nate’s gone. Gr a ndma Ro se ’s k i tche n h as yellow walls with s t iff w hi te cur t ai ns o n th e wind ow. Th e ligh t r efl e ct s o n the w al l s . Unc le And rew is sitting o n t he chai r faci ng the wind ow, and I see h im in p r o fi l e w he n I e nt e r th e h ou se. H is nose l o o ks l i k e i t’ s bl e e di ng so I bring a tissu e to t h e ki tche n. W he n I s t e p insid e, I see th at h is n o s e i sn’ t bl e e di ng afte r all. His brains are all o v e r t he w al l be hi nd hi m . ***

R ic h ard said onc e t ha t U n c le An dr ew ha d t he c h anc e to talk t o s o m eo n e a n d i t di dn ’t wo r k, bu t I know bett er . S o m et i m es t her a p y do es n ’t h elp righ t away . O n t he f i r s t da y s , y o u wa n t t o say everyth ing y o u ’r e f eeli n g , bu t t he wo r ds are too stu c k in s i de y o u r m o u t h a n d n o t hi n g c an get th em ou t . U n c le An dr ew m u s t ha ve h ated trying to g et t hem o u t o f hi s m o u t h s o mu c h th at h e blew t hem u p . It’s too late, I s u p p o s e, bu t I wi s h S a r a h ha d talked to me. I do n ’t kn o w i f I ’d ha ve been able to get th e wo r ds o u t o f her m o u t h, bu t a t least sh e’d see s o m eo n e who u n der s t o o d wha t sh e c ou ld n’t say .

“ I th in k th ey wa nt to fe e l so b ad th at th ey ’re wi l l i n g to feel any t h i n g.”

EN D

S o me ti me s the gi r l t hat never talked to you is t h e onl y o ne w ho unde r stand s wh at you ’re go in g thr o ugh. Uncl e A ndrew h ad p u t a revolver t o h i s mo ut h be cause no one c ou ld u nd erstand wh a t he w as go i ng thr o ugh . I sp ent th e week o f h i s fune r al i n t he ho sp ital with d oc tors wh o d id n’ t k no w w hat I w as g oing th rou gh .

10


Will’s Sweater K at Lewis

Ou r h and s graze a s we t a lk a bo u t ho w t i r ed

W e a r e d r unk i n my k i tche n, go ssip ing

we are of th e Za c hli n s a g a . Y o u c hec k

abo u t m y r o o mmate and y o ur s a s th ey loc k

you r watc h one t o o m a n y t i m es

t h e m s el v es i n he r be dr o o m. T h eir l ies , w hi s pe r e d sw e e t, l e ak

and th e lu ll of t he c o n ver s a t i o n

t h r o ugh t h e cr ack s o f the do o r –

lead s you to th e do o r .

a sus u r r us o f co mpl i me nt s and giggles As you try to op en i t ,

and p r o m is es to mak e e ach o ther h ap p y.

I stare at th e d r a wn dea dbo lt , wa i t i n g Gi g gl in g y o ur se l f, yo u mur mur ,

f or f ingers to fu m ble wi t h c ha i n li n ks .

c h a ppe d l ips scr api ng my e ar ,

Th e d oor u nloc ks a n d o p en s a n d a c a r p et r eeki n g

“C a it l in a n d Z ach, si t ti ng i n a tree,

of c igarettes and va g u e p i s s bec ko n s

F-U - C - K - I - N-G .”

you with its mu s k a n d m y s t er i o u s s t a i n s .

I ba c k h a n d yo ur ar m w i th a pl ayf u l slap

I try to d rag ou t o u r g o o d-by e li ke t he la s t

and fee l y o u r sw e at e r the w ay I f elt my f irst d og –

p iec es of tap e on a r ea m o f S c o t c h

b l a ck fu r p l us h as pi l l o w s o r P uf f s

bu t I c an’t c h an g e t he n a t u r e o f t he wo r ds .

t i ss u e s wit h a sl i ght aft e r i tch

So, I watc h you wa lk a wa y , blu e s wea t er g r o wi n g

li k e s t e el wo o l o n pr une d sk i n.

so small in th e di m ha llwa y a s I s t i ll f eel t he bu r n of you r f ingers o n m i n e.

11


“Damp S o e u l : O ld and

Da vi n a Y e J i Pa r k

F r e e”

12


Angelic a Morgan “At th e Temp le”

13


Peac h Fu z z Lau ra Grau I hid beneath th e tree by th e terrac e, A ttemp ting to erase h er p rognosis Like th e c h emo erased th e h air f rom h er hea d. I cou nted d own moments with th e beep ing Of h er p u mp , trad ing lau gh ter f or d rop s Of p oison th at c ou ld maybe save h er lif e. Loc ks of h air rep lac ed by glitter Th at still d ec orates th e c rac ks of th e Leath er seats of my c ar—h er h ead Used to sp arkle wh en we walked in th e su n . I th ou gh t we’d h ave more time— M ore nigh ts sh aring take-ou t su sh i, P retend ing th at th e c aviar wou ld grow Into f ish in my belly—th e same reason She ref u sed to eat th em—more af ternoons In Starbu c ks sh aring Green Tea Frap s, Calling th em Gu ac amole—more mornings Singing in th e Ped iatric Onc ology Unit, Waking th e nu rses with marac as— Ju st more time, f ewer abnormal rh yth ms In h er h eart, f ewer massages with ic e To mask th e p ain in h er legs, f ewer Tu bes attac h ed to h er giving h er lif e, Less morp h ine, ju st less. “ My lif e is more th an th is,” sh e said . 14


“Do you remember t ha t t i m e… ” I s t a r t t o s a y af ter taking a sip , b u t a wa i t er a p p r o a c hes R i ley. Sh e waves h im o f f a n d s ha kes her hea d.

T he T o as t Kat he r i ne Quinn

“No c h amp agne?” I a s k. “No,” sh e says, “not dr i n ki n g . ” S ix y e a r s , e i ght mo nt hs , and f ou rteen d ays ago I m et R il e y i n a M e xi can k ar aoke bar. It was m y t w en t y-t hi r d bi r thday and I was d ru nk on J o s e C ue rvo sho ts , do i ng my best “Walk Th e Lin e” im p e r s o nati o n. That’ s wh at sh e said at l ea s t . I do n’ t r e me mbe r t hat nigh t very well. I b a r el y r e m e mbe r i t at al l . T o da y , I me e t Ri l e y ne ar t he balc ony, a wh is k ey s o u r i n my hand. I tr y to tie my f if th c h er r y s t e m wi t h my to ngue but s p it it ou t instead . T h e w a it er s car r y o ut t al l gl asses f oaming over wit h D o m P é r i gno n but I can’t stomac h th e t a s t e. C h a mpagne has al w ays been h er d rink of c h o ice . F o r t h e r e ce pti o n, Ri l e y has taken of f th e veil, b ut t h a t ’ s no co mfo r t. No w I c an see h er c lear l y — t h e fre ck l e s o n he r fo r e head , sc ar on h er n o s e fr o m t he acci de nt— he r f ac e is brigh t in t h e m id day sun. I squi nt and th e wh ite d ress s pin s b e f o r e my e ye s. S h e ’ s s t a ndi ng ne xt to me . 15

Th e waiter trails aw a y . I s t a r t t o s a y wha t I was saying bef ore, b u t i n s t ea d I la u g h. “ At you r own wed d ing?” “No,” sh e says again, s hi f t i n g ba c k a n d f o r t h on th e bac ks of h er heels li ke s he a lwa y s do es . Sh e looks toward the c r o wded en t r y wa y f o r h im.

“Fo r t h e re cep t i on, R i l ey has t a ke n o ff t he vei l, b u t t hat ’s n o comfor t.”

It’s too lou d ou t h e r e wi t h t he n o i s e f r o m i n sid e and th e traf f ic do wn o n t he s t r eet ; I c a n barely h ear myself t hi n k. “Hu h ,” I say, “only t i m e I ever s a w y o u r ef u s e a d rink was th at tim e y o u — we— ” I p a u s e, g r a b bing h er arm to stea dy m y s elf . “ Af t er … ” I s t o p . “Never mind .” Sh e won’t look me in t he ey e. “ Lu c a s ,” s he says, “d on’t get u p s et . ”


I w a t ch Jo s e ph appr o ach h is brid e. His f ac e is t wis te d i n a gr i mace . An d I unde r s t and. “ H o w l o ng?” I ask , l o w e ring my voic e so h e wo n ’t he ar . Jo s e ph i s here now and h e is wrap p in g hi s ar m ar o und he r s. H e says someth ing t o h e r but she sque e ze s m y arm. No, I realiz e it ’s hi m sque e zi ng my arm. “Lu c as,” h e says, “ it ’ s t i me fo r the to as t .” I ig no r e hi m. She w o n’ t look into my eyes. “ W h at’s di ffe r e nt no w ? ” I say. “ P l e a s e ,” Ri l e y says , s hutting h er eyes tigh t, “ Lucas, do n’t .” Jo s e ph s qu eez es my arm tigh t er a nd the n l e ts me go . He h u rries R iley in s id e , ar m ar o und he r w a ist, p arting th e c rowd wit h hi s o the r hand. I dr ai n t he gl as s and t o ss it over th e railing. It s h a tt e r s o n the pave me nt, th ree stories be l o w. But I can s t i l l s e e th eir ref lec tion in th e wa it e r ’ s gl ass e s— the y are twirling now, d anc in g a s e ve r yo ne w at che s . All th e c h ild ren stand a r o und the m. T he y’r e cl a p p ing. I w a l k i ns i de . M y fat he r is th ere stand ing by m y s e at at the he ad tabl e. He p oints to h is wa t c h, gr i ps my sho ul de r, and signals to th e DJ.

Th e mu sic stop s a n d t hey s t o p s p i n n i n g . My f ath er tap s on hi s g la s s a n d ever y o n e t u r n s t o watc h u s. I start to sp eak bu t I do n ’t kn o w wha t I ’m s a y ing. Almost ever y o n e t a kes a s ea t . S he s i t s o n h is lap . My voic e i s t o o lo u d, ec ho i n g a r o u n d th e room. “Wh a t ’s t ha t li n e,” I s a y , ‘N i c e g u y s f inish last?” I ca t c h R i ley ’s bla n k s t a r e. “Well with my br o t her … ” I s t a r t . J o s ep h d rap es h is arm a r o u n d her s ho u lder , “ m y o lder broth er Joey’s o n e hello f a n i c e g u y . ” My moth er lau g hs , n er vo u s . “Bu t I gu ess tha t do es n ’t c o u n t t hi s t i m e. S ee, Joey—h e stole t he g i r l bu t I ’m t elli n g y o u — he’s th e nic er gu y. He’s t he o n e t o p r o t ec t m e f r o m all th e bad d ec is i o n s — li ke g et t i n g m a r r i ed t o th e girl h e alwa y s wa n t ed. ” Th ey lau gh , ju m p y . T he c hi ldr en la u g h, ec ho ing th eir p aren t s . T her e’s n o t hi n g els e t o do . “Sinc e we’re all her e, I c a n ’t s a y he t o o k hi s own ad vic e.” More lau gh ter r ever ber a t es a ll a r o u n d t he room. Most of i t i s m i n e. “God , I c an’t w a i t f o r t ho s e ho li da y p a r t i es ,” I say and swallow. 16


Eg g s i n a N es t Jen n i f er F r eder i c k

Th e f irst bite i s a lwa y s greasy bread n ever t a s t i n g li ke anyth ing bu t bu t t er o r c o o ki n g s p r a y f atting, oily a s i f i t i s s li p p i n g T h e fl oo r s pi ns unde r ne ath my f eet. My own l a u gh t e r t r ai l s o ff. “ But honestly, I c ou ld n’t be h a p pier fo r the s e t w o and th eir f u tu re togeth e r . T h es e t w o … ” I catch Ri ley’s eye, “…th ese t h r e e a r e me ant t o be .” W it h t ho se w o r ds e cho i ng arou nd th e c rowd ed h a l l , I rai se my gl ass .

and ooz ing a r o u n d o n m y t o n g u e bef ore I c an p u s h i t t o m y t hr o a t . In antic ip at i o n o f p o o r f la vo r I break th e y o lk, a qu i c k s t a b to th e h eart o f t he di s h a n d let t he yellow sau c e o ver t a ke t he p la t e. Th is d oes no g o o d bec a u s e I h ate f ried eg g s . Eg g s i n a n es t , wh en f lip p ed p er f ec t ly ,

I d r in k to the br i de and gr oom.

u se th e c ru st t o ho ld t he eg g i n s i de

a breakf ast b ed, a

END

th ey were ne ver a p a r t o f m y c hi ldho o d and every tim e I f o r g et I h ate h ow they t a s t e. Exc ep t f or the f i r s t t i m e I a t e t hem , sometime la s t Ma r c h wh en you c a lled m e s weet n a m es in f ront of y o u r f a m i ly . 17


Florenc e Ma

18


K h ad ija Aaf ia Syed G i ve me back the waf ting aroma of Dad i’s p erf u me, cr us he d r o s e pe t a ls and H imalayan jasmine th at onc e blo s s o m ed i n B hu t a n fl o ati ng ar o und h er like an invisible mist th at slowed d own t i m e. G i ve me back the af ternoons of d ic tation, rolling arou nd w i th o ur fe e t i n th e air, like c h ild ren d o, on th e living roo m c a r p et , s c r i bbli n g A r abi c l e t te r s tha t were jagged and too sp ac ed ap art, w r i ti ng s e nt e nce s th at of ten end ed with “ – gave Dad a a m a n g o .” I do n’ t al w ay s und erstand God ’s ways. Bu t wh atever time t a kes f r o m y o u , w hat e ve r bur de ns are c h ained to you r f ragile ankles, beli eve m e, my Dadi ’ s tr anqu il visage and p eac ef u l lowered gaz e, al mo s t gho st -l i k e in h er p rayerf u l p resense, wou ld insp ir e y o u t o be g en t le. Eve n my Dada’s natu rally tou gh , military style mu ted in her vi c i n i t y . No matt e r ho w s mall you ever f elt, my Dad i, a p etite wom a n , wo u ld s i t cal ml y o n the co rner sof a, sip p ing a c u p of h ot c h ai, readi n g a lea t her - bo u n d Qur an, w i r e y gl asses p erc h ed on th e tip of ner nose, s ayi ng w i th al l th e silenc e sh e c ou ld mu ster th at it is oka y t o be smal l , be cause God is big enou gh . 19


H ook, Line, and Dead K at Lewis

Smo k e and bur ni ng flesh steep ed th e air like a t ea bag l e ft i n mi nut es too long. R od in h and , De ath w ai te d o n the stairs of th e c ath ed ral. A fi she r man, he cas t h is line and reeled in c har r e d so ul s o ne by one. As h e worked , h e h umme d al o ng to the moan of “Organ Toc c ata” t h at s l i ppe d thr o ugh th e c rac ks in th e c h u rc h ’s p o r tal . Spi r i ts st r o de u p th e marble step s into t h e chur ch, al l w i s ps of th e p eop le th ey onc e we r e .

Sh e emerged f r o m t he bla z e, f a c e ha lf -s ea r ed with a p earl o f s wea t s li c ki n g do wn her s o o t smu d ged c h eek. As t he wo m a n p lu c ked D ea t h’s h ook f rom h er li p , t hey s ha r ed a lo n g g a z e, h ate and res p ec t br ewi n g bet ween t hem . I n di g nant, sh e d ro p p ed t he lu r e a n d Dea t h wa t c hed h er limp awa y , her s i lho u et t e f lu s hed a g a i n s t th e f ire. He r s i n g ed f i g u r e di s s i p a t ed i n t o a p all of smoke bu t Dea t h s i m p ly lo bbed hi s line ou t onc e m o r e, kn o wi n g t ha t s o o n en o u g h th ey wou ld m eet a g a i n wi t h hi s ho o k p i er c ed th rou gh h er s c a r r ed c heek.

De ath’ s fl o at bo bbe d above th e f lames in th e s tr e e t s. So me t hi ng yanked th e line, d rawing it fur the r o ut . T he r e el’s brake trip p ed bu t h is p r e y fo ught o n. G r i p tigh t, Death wou nd th e runne r i n.

20


Ariz ona Lu ke Axiotakis

w hat i s e e a nd wh ere i walk are su rely not th e same fo r i f st r app ed with c linging tap e arou nd my sh oe w e r e l ur i d bleed ing h igh ligh ter w i t h bl o o d brigh t as sh een on stone no t much p rogress wou ld be mad e in my qu est to cr o s s the word s of th is terrain and ye t a s p read -arms’ gaz e leaves now my mid -h ea d st o mpi ng l ike tau t work-boots f rom bu nd led soc kets e ye s the best of travelers i s the r e a dif f erenc e between step p ing h ere or th ere and s e e i ng h ere and th ere wh ile f illing sp ac e with si g ht e ye s the w id est of h igh ligh ters tw o mi l e s beyond th e breath ing c h est at interf ac e of s a n d/wa t er tw o mi l e s over bent p ines if not f or th eir h u d d ling i n t he wa y tw o mi l e s th e limit of sigh t th ey say pe r haps then only two miles tall c an ink grow o n thi s page bef ore my mind is tested but i have my d ou bts

21


Daybr e ak o n the Harbor A nna Davis

I t w a s s t i l l dar k w he n Bi l l p u lled of f th e road a n d p a rk e d hi s tr uck i l l e gally on th e u np aved s h o ul de r . He put up the e mergenc y break and t u r n e d o ff the tr ansmi s s i o n. R elu c tantly, th e m o t o r sputt e r e d i nt o s i l e nc e. Bill sat motion l es s fo r a mo me nt , i nhal i ng th e c h ill tang o f s ea t hat w aft e d t hr o ugh his op en wind ow fr o m t h e ne ar by sal t mar s h , and th en, gru nt in g, h e w r e s t l e d t he k e y o ut of th e transmis s io n . Damn k e y. He ’ d be e n meaning to get th at fix ed. H a n k ’s tr uck w as par k e d some th irty yard s u p t h e r o a d. Bi l l ’ s hi gh be ams glanc ed of f th e ear l y m o r ni ng fo g, but no t e nou gh to obsc u re th e l et t e r s o n hi s fr i e nd’ s vani ty p late: 2­F ISH IN. I t w a s t o o bad. W hy Hank h ad n’t c h anged th e p l a t e y e t, Bi l l had no i de a. He rolled u p h is win d o w , t ur ne d o ff the he adligh ts, and stared in t o t h e bl ack ne ss , si ppi ng th e last of th e now l u k e wa rm co ffe e that Edna h ad p rep ared over a n h o u r ago . She had i nsi s ted on seeing h im o ff, t h o ugh i t me ant w ak i ng u p at 3:30. Her

kiss good bye h a d been a li t t le m o r e lo vi n g th an u su al. Ou tsid e was the da n kn es s o f a la t e S ep t em ber d awn. Ac ro s s t he ha r bo r , t he c i t y li g ht s winked th rou g h t he f o g . B i ll s ho ved hi s ha n ds d eep insid e h is ja c ket p o c ket s a n d wi s hed he h ad worn som et hi n g wa r m er . H e c o u ld t ell f rom th e f resh t r a i l o f m a t t ed g r a s s t ha t H a n k h ad alread y p ulled t he bo a t a c r o s s t he s a lt marsh to th e w a t er ’s edg e. B i ll f o llo wed t he trail, slip p ing s li g ht ly o n t he r eeds . A t hi n grey tinged the ea s t er n ho r i z o n . S o m ewher e nearby, a d u c k beg a n t o qu a c k. Hank was standi n g bes i de t he r o wbo a t , f a c i n g th e h arbor, wh en B i ll s qu elc hed t hr o u g h t he mu d to h is sid e. H e di d n o t t u r n a r o u n d. “How ya d oin’?” B i ll a s ked. “Piss of f .” Th ey took of f t hei r s ho es a n d s o c ks a n d t o s s ed th em into th e bo t t o m o f t he bo a t . B i ll g a s p ed as h is f eet sank s ever a l i n c hes i n t o t he f r i g i d mu d . H e c ou ld hea r H a n k c u r s i n g n ex t t o hi m . Togeth er th ey p u s hed t he bo a t i n t o t hewa t er and c lambered o ver t he s i des . B i ll t o o k t he oars, and H ank s a t s hi ver i n g o n t he o p p o s i t e benc h , c lamp i n g a s m a ll u r n bet ween hi s 22


sh attering th e f og . H a n k t u r n ed hi s hea d i n i t s

k n e es . “ F r o m t he bo at , she te l l s me . In th e h arbor at s u n r is e ,” Hank mut te r e d. “ Christ.” F o r a wh i l e the y sai d no thi ng, th e silenc e bro k e n o n l y by Bi l l ’s l abo r e d br eath ing and th e s p l a s h o f t he o ar s and a gul l ’s solitary keen in g . T h e s hr o ud o f s t r atus cl ou d s brigh tened t o a s o dde n w hi t e . A si r e n began to wh ine in t h e dis t a nce . Hank s at hunch ed over. H e h ad fo r go t t e n hi s hat , and t he pale d ayligh t re fl e c t ed o f f o f hi s bal d he ad. He was c aressing t h e l id o f t he ur n w i t h hi s thumb. Th ere was s o m e t h ing st r ange abo ut hi m , bu t Bill was too s l ee p y t o t e l l w hat i t w as . Th en as th ey p assed a n o r a n g e buo y , i t came t o hi m . “ Y o u ’ r e in a sui t?” “ It ’ s j us t ni ce r thi s w ay.” “ H el l , y o u’ve r ui ne d i t i n t he mu d ,” Bill pr e s s ed. H a n k p ic k e d at a scab o n hi s c h in. “Ed na know y o u ’ r e h e r e ?” “ U h­h u h . ” “ T h a t ’ s go o d.” T h e fir s t fe r r y to Hul l s o unded its h orn, 23

d irec tion. “We us ed t o r i de t he f er r y ,” he s a i d. “Th at mu st h ave been n i c e. ” T he s i r en g r ew lou d er. “It wasn’t. Su e w o u ld keep n a g g i n g m e a bo u t not f alling overbo a r d. An d t hen s he’d g et s ea sic k, and I’d h ave t o g o a r o u n d a s ki n g t he c r ew f or a bu c ket. An d o n c e we g o t t o t he i s la n ds , th e only way we c o u ld g et ho m e wa s t o t a ke th e d amn f erry b a c k. S u e wo u ld s wea r s he’d never set f oot on a bo a t a g a i n , bu t a c o u p le month s later sh e’d f o r g et a ll a bo u t i t a n d wa n t to rid e th e f erry a n o t her t i m e. S o m e s en t i m en tal c rap abou t the o c ea n c a lli n g t o her . ” “And th e rowboa t ?” “We’d take it ou t f i s hi n g i n t he m a r s h. B u t I mean, wh at th e hell, s he di dn ’t even li ke f i s h ing.” H ank glare d a t t he u r n . F o r a m o m en t , Bill th ou gh t h e w a s g o i n g t o hu r l i t i n t o t he sea. Su d d enly th e siren bu r s t t hr o u g h t he f o g . R E MAIN IN YOUR VES S EL, a m eg a p ho n e bla r ed. DO NOT GO AN Y F U R T H ER . B i ll c u r s ed a n d stop p ed rowing a s t he H a r bo r Po li c e p u lled u p to th e sid e of t he bo a t . An o f f i c er s t u c k hi s h ead ou t th e win do w. “ W ho s e bo a t i s t hi s ?”


H a n k ’s he ad w as bo w e d. H is th u mb ru bbed th e u r n l id co mpul si ve l y. “ Min e,” Bi l l ans w e r e d. “ T h is is a hi gh tr affi c ar e a. Th ese waters are c l o s e d to unaut ho r i ze d ve ssels. Did you know t h a t ? ” It w as n’ t a que st i o n. Th e of f ic er h eld o u t h is hand. “ Li ce ns e , pl ease.”

EN D

B il l fis he d i nsi de hi s po ck ets. Damn. H e’d f or g o t t e n hi s w al l e t i n the tr u c k. “ Y o u m e an to te l l me yo u took a tiny little r o wb o a t o ut i nt o t he mi ddle of a bu sy h arbor, b ut y o u di dn’t tak e an I.D. with you ?” th e of f i c er b a rk e d. Bi l l w e t hi s l i ps. Th e of f ic er tu rned t o wa r d Hank . “ Si r , do yo u h ave you r I.D.?” H a n k di dn’ t say a w o r d. He d id n’t even look u p. H is thumb mo ve d back and f orth ac ross t h e l id o f t he ur n. Co mpr e h ension d awned on t h e o ffice r ’s face . He t o o k ou t a tic ket book, l o o k in g unco mfo r tabl e . “ Do you h ave a p ermit fo r t h at? ” H a n k st ar te d to cr y. He sat th ere c lu tc h ing th e u r n a n d s hudde r i ng i n hi s su it, h is bare f eet t u ck e d unde r ne at h the be nc h with th e soiled s o ck s and sho e s , w hi l e t he su n rose h igh er b e h in d the cl o uds , and the gu lls wailed , and t h e r o wbo at bo bbe d o n t he slate­g rey waves. 24


M ul t i pl e P e r s o nality Di s o r de r

“H i,” you say, walki n g i n t o a s t a r t li n g ly brigh t room. Th e l o n g t a bles a r e c lu s t er ed i n th e bac k save f or t wo s ho ved t o g et her i n t he mid d le of th e room . T hr ee f a c es lo o k ba c k a t you . Th e ligh t ref l ec t s o f f a p a i r o f g la s s es f rom th e mid d le bo dy .

A ye sha Shi bli

Y o u h a v e to k no w i t al l at o nc e. Th ere’s you r c h a r a c t er , he r w o r ds, he r l i fe. Bu t th ere’s also y o ur b o dy. A nd i t’ s as i f y o u’ ve lent it to some o n e el s e. She ’s tal k i ng w i th you r voic e, moving y o ur h a n ds, and w al k i ng yo ur f eet ac ross th e s t a g e w h il e y o u’ r e o ff i n the wings f rom th e l a s t t im e y o u w e r e be t w e e n s c enes.

“Emily Peters?” a s u r p r i s i n g ly s o f t vo i c e c omes ou t f rom Gl a s s es . You nod . “H i Emily. And you ’r e r ea di n g ... K a t e t o d ay?” You see a rolled c o p y o f T he T a m i n g o f th e Sh rew slip onto her la p a s s he s c a n s her

*** Audit io n i ng i s the mo st humiliating th ing you c a n d o . Li k e a bi zar r e r e mnant of a h u manau c t io n , y o u se l l yo ur se l f to smi ling f ac es sitting in a r o w. A cti ng i s be havi ng tru th f u lly u sing im a gin a r y ci r cums t ance s . 1 Y ou know th is; th e l in e is d r i l l e d i nt o yo ur he ad. You know to sell t h e t r u t h e ve n i f t he s t o r y i s a lie. Pic k me, c a s t m e, I ’ m he r . But y o u’ r e not ju st h er, sh e’s y o u, a n d to ge the r , yo u’r e the best d amn K ate in a s e a of Kate s. A nd r i ght t his moment, both o f y o u a r e ho pi ng yo u’ve go t th e monologu e down. 1

“. . .y o u s e ll yours e lf to s m il i n g fa ces sitting in a row . ” You see a rolled co p y o f T he T a m i ng o f the Shr ew slip on t o her la p a s s he s c a n s h er sh eet. You c lo s e y o u r ey es . Y o u c a n do th is.... Eyes op en. You ba r ely r em em ber y o u r n a m e, mu c h less wh at y o u ’ve ju s t s a i d. “Th at’s enou gh .”

S a n fo r d M e i s ne r

“Okay, th ank you. ” 25


“ T h a n k yo u, Emi l y.”

***

T h ey s p e ak as a cho r us. The sc ribbling stop s, h e a ds r ise fr o m no t e pads and you know th ey e a ch h a ve a l o t t he y ’ d l i k e say. If you weren’t a b o ut t o fal l o ut o f yo ur s k i n f rom th e af ter­ n e r ve s y o u’d actual l y car e abou t it. Bu t th ey’ll ca l l . O r t he y w o n’t cal l . Y o u, Emily, c an’t d e cid e w h ich yo u pr e fe r . Y o u, K ate, go bac k to fit fu l s l e e p i n the l i tt l e co r ner of you r h ead . *** Y o u d e c ide the o nl y thi ng w orse th an au d ition in g is t h e fi r st r e ad thr o ugh. Everyone sits t o ge t h er , me e ti ng hi s o r he r new best f riend fo r t h e ne xt se ve n w e e k s . It ’s more th an th at t h o ugh . I ts as i f al l o f yo u k now th at you r best fr ien ds have al r e ady me t , and eac h of you are l a t e t o t he par t y . Y o u bar e l y know Denise, bu t h e r B ia n ca k no w s y o ur Kate as a sister. It’s a wk w a r d. D en is e l aughs. Y o u l augh.

Th ey d id n’t tell y o u ho w t o keep t r a c k o f i t a ll. K ate’s lif e f la s hes behi n d y o u r ey eli ds t he f i r s t time you go of f bo o k f o r r ehea r s a l. R e m e m be r to stop in the m o m e nt . Y o u kn o w ho w a c la i r voyant f eels no w. Y o u kn o w wha t wi ll ha p p en to h er, bu t yo u a ls o do n ’t kn o w a n y t hi n g p a s t th is sc ene. Tw o s t ep s f o r wa r d, o n e s t ep ba c k. Always stay in c ha r a c t er . W ha t wo u ld K a t e do sinc e sh e d oe s n ’t kn o w? H o w do y o u r ea c t ? H ow are you s u p p o s ed t o f eel? “Wait, f u c k, wha t ’s m y li n e,” R y a n a s ks f r o m Petru c h io’s bo dy .

Ar e you f r ea ki ng se ri o u s? Y o u do n ’t kn o w you ’ve said it— bec a u s e K a t e def i n i t ely do es n ’t say it—u ntil, “ J es u s , Em . R ela x .” R y a n s a y s . “R igh t. Sorry.” Y o u br i ef ly t a ke y o u r vo i c e bac k f rom K a t e. “ O ka y , a g a i n .”

“ D o y o u r e al l y ti e my hands u p , Em?” sh e w h is p e r s, r e adi ng the st age direc tions.

You start f rom hi s c u e, c o n f u s ed— n o , i n s i s tent, “Th e moo n ? T he s u n . I t i s n o t m o o n li g ht now.” 2

“ I g ue s s so .” Y o u scan Kat e ’ s d irec tions f ranti ca l l y , t r yi ng t o fi gur e o ut w h y. Why d o I tie u p m y s i s t e r? W hy am I s o angr y? As you read o n , K a t e he l ps y o u fi nd o ut.

“I say it is the m o o n t ha t s hi n es s o brigh t.” 3 Petruc hi o ’s vo i c e s a y s ba c k. K a t e lau gh s in your hea d. W ha t , i s he s t u p i d? 26


“ I k n o w it i s the sun that shines so brigh t.” 4 T h e wo r ds tumbl e o ut i n Kat e’s h au gh ty tone. *** Y o u h a v e t o k no w i t al l at o nc e. Th ere’s you r ch a r a ct e r, he r w o r ds, he r l i fe. Bu t th ere’s also y o u r b o dy . A nd fo r to ni ght you ’ve lent it to s o m e o n e e l s e . Kate . She ’s talking with you r v o ice , m ovi ng y o ur hands, and walking you r fe et a cr o ss the st age w hi l e y ou ’re of f in th e w in gs fr o m the l ast t i me y o u were between s c en e s . It ’ s l i k e y o ur l i fe i s playing on f ast fo r w a r d. O ne mi nute yo u’ r e h itting you r sis t e r , a n g r y as he l l . The ne xt, you ’re stand ing at y o u r o wn w e ddi ng, ask i ng how you got th ere. B ut y o u kno w . Y o u k no w yo u ’re so angry with y o u r s is t e r be caus e s he can’t ju st p ic k a gu y— a n d s h e has tw o , unl i k e y o u. Next, it’s you r w eddin g and yo u k no w he o nly wants you r fa t h er ’s mo ne y. Eve n tho ugh h e d oesn’t want y o u , h e c o ul d have at l e ast s h own u p on time. Y o u ’r e a ngr y abo ut i t, and i t sh ows in every l in e. Y o u’ r e a r e al s hr e w . O ffs t a g e y o u r e mi nd yo ur se l f of th e simp le t h in g s . Kate ’s tak i ng up to o m u c h h ead sp ac e, b u t t h is i s he r mo me nt . She ’ s overwh elmed w it h s a d i s t hus bands and married lif e f rom h e l l . A l l y o u have to r e me mber is wh ere to 27

stand , wh ere to sit , a n d n o t t o m es s u p . Th e f inal sp eec h g o es o f f wi t ho u t a hi t c h. Y o u remember th e tec hn i qu e y o u ’ve p r a c t i c ed, R emember , ta ke hi s ha nd u nd e r yo u rs, a nd d on’ t p u t you r s und e r hi s f o o t . Y o u t hi n k bu t d on’t th ink. You ca n ’t even t a ke c r edi t ; K a t e exec u tes f lawlessly . Af ter all, K ate is a s p r a c t i c ed a s y o u . Y o u ’ve reh earsed th is sc e n e a hu n dr ed t i m es . Y o u sp eak, th en h e kis s es y o u : hi s r i g ht a r m o ver you r sh ou ld er, yo u r lef t a r m u n der wi t h y o u r h and resting on h i s r i b c a g e. Y o u ’r e a week married and still a wkwa r d— let hi m di r ec t y o u . It’s th e c lear­c u t, s i m p le ( n o t ­s o ­s i m p le) s t a g e kiss you ’ve been p r a c t i c i n g . K a t e’s p r a c t i c e th ou gh —K ate’s p r a c t i c e i s wha t c o m es wi t h knowing you ’ve m a r r i ed a m a n who s e m a i n one-liner is “K iss m e, K a t e! ” a n d wi t h a n i n ternal f ac ep alm, yo u do . Ea c h t i m e. B ec a u s e he h as to th ink th at he ha s t a m ed y o u . “Joke’s on h im, th o u g h.” K a t e t ells y o u , la u g h ing as sh e takes t he f i r s t bo w i n y o u r bo dy .An d you know it too. Y o u ’r e her , a n d s he’s y o u , a n d no one c an tame yo u . EN D


St o r i e s o f Blood Kat Le wis

S y l v ia l i k e d gr ave di ggi ng like h ou sewives l ik e v a cuumi ng. So me t hi ng abou t th esou nd of a s h o ve l s cr api ng i nto the earth relaxed h er. E a ch s hw o o p o f the spade and p lop of d irt to t h e s id e s ho o e d t ho ught s from h er c lou d ed m in d . The sw e at co l l e cti ng at h er h airline c l ea n s e d he r bo dy . W he n th e f irst bead of s w ea t bubbl e d o ve r and driz z led d own h er c h ee k , he r t ho ught s r ai ne d d own in total c lar it y . O n t h e fi r st ni ght o f s umm er, ju st as th e sweat b r e we d and he r ho l e be came more grave th an d it c h , fo o ts t e ps cr unche d on p ine need les b e h in d he r . She w hi ppe d a p istol ou t of h er wa is t band and co ck e d i t . “ J es u s , Sy l . P ut t he gun down,” a h eavy­s et man s a id, s t e ppi ng i n a pal e s ha f t of moonligh t. B eh in d hi m, l i mpe d a bo y no old er th an nine t ee n . Cur i o s i t y gl e ame d i n h is brown gaz e as h e ey ed Sy l vi a. It w as a s t range sigh t, seeing a t we nt y ­s o me thi ng gi r l ho ld ing su c h a big gu n wit h a fr e s h, nak e d co r pse sp rawled ou t at h er fee t .

“Vinny, wh o th e f u c k i s t hi s ?” s he a s ked, a i m ing th e gu n at t he s t r a n g er . Staring at th e ba r r el o f t he g u n , t he bo y f linc h ed bu t o n ly ba r ely . “ R ela x , s he’s n o t gonna sh oot yo u ,” Vi n n y s a i d a n d lo o ked ba c k to Sylvia. “You ’r e n o t g o n n a s ho o t hi m .” A s i g h lef t Sylvia’s lip s a s s he u n c o c ked t he g u n a n d tu c ked it bac k i n t o her wa i s t ba n d. “ Y o u r f a t her d oesn’t want y o u o u t her e a n y m o r e.” “Sau l d oesn’t wa n t a lo t t a t hi n g s ,” s he r ep li ed, sh oveling u p a n o t her hea p o f di r t . Vinny slip p ed hi s ha n ds i n t o hi s p o c ket s . “Well, th is is T o m . H e’ll be t a ki n g o ver n ex t week.” “Wh at?” “Sh ow h im wh a t y o u do a n d ho w y o u do i t . ” As h e sp oke, he t u r n ed t o m a ke hi s wa y o u t of th e wood s b ef o r e a ddi n g , “ T hi n k o f hi m a s you r intern.” Hi s hea d wa s a n g led ju s t en o u g h toward s Sylvia t ha t s he c o u ld s ee t he s m i r k th at nic ked the c o r n er o f hi s m o u t h. W i t h t ha t , Vinny lef t th e t wo o f t hem i n t he wo o ds . S y lvi a stared at Tom a m o m en t . T he s i lver y li g ht f ell on a sc ar at the c o r n er o f hi s ey e t ha t da s hed ac ross h is skin li ke a c hec km a r k. “So,” Tom said, lea n i n g a p i n e t r ee’s t r u n k. 28


“ W h a t ’s t h e bo ss ’ daughte r doing ou t h ere?” H e fis h ed a che ap l i ghte r and a p ac k of Marl b o r o s o u t o f hi s po ck e t . S y l v ia fo r ce d t he s ho ve l i nt o th e grou nd with t h e s o l e o f he r bo o t . “ I’m a l i ttle less sensitive t o t h es e ki nds o f thi ngs .” He r gaz e f ell on th e cig a r et t e s . “ Y o u k no w t ho s e t hings’ll kill you .” T o m ’ s l ip s k i ppe d to the si de in a smirk. “So’ll t h a t , ” h e s ai d, no ddi ng to the .4 5 in h er waist b a n d. S y l vi a r e pl i e d w i th a snorted lau gh and T o m ’ s ga z e s hi ft e d t o t he de ad bod y. “Wh en’d y o u s e e y o ur fi r st ?” “ I wa s s ix . W e w e r e co mi ng home f rom c h u rc h . S a ul wa s f uss i ng at me t o go prac tic e p iano. I fu ck in g h ate d i t. I do n’t k now wh y p arents a l wa y s s t a r t the i r k i ds o n the most boring in s t r u m en t s. P i ano , vi o l i n. Ne ver someth ing f u n l ik e g uit a r o r dr ums. A ny w ay , af ter h e th reat e n ed t h e be l t, I dr agge d my ass into th e living r o o m w it h my ‘M ar y had Li t tl e Lamb’ sh eet m u s ic. Wh e n I go t i n the r e , I h eard th is d rip pin g n o is e. It so unde d l i k e a sink th at wasn’t a l l t h e w a y o ff. I w al k e d ar o und th e p iano and fo un d m y uncl e ’ s he ad si t ti ng on th e benc h , s t il l s pil l ing l i t tl e dr o ps o f bl ood onto th e fl o o r .” S y lvi a ne ve r s t o ppe d d igging as sh e t o l d t h e s to r y. 29

“Sh it,” Tom said , ta m p i n g t he p a c k o f c i g a rettes. “And I th ou g ht m i n e wa s f u c ked u p .” Sylvia c h u c kled . “I di dn ’t r ea li z e t hi s wa s a c omp etition. You go t t a t ell m e n o w. ” Tom slid a smoke ou t o f t he p a c k a n d ba la n c ed it between h is teeth . “ I wa s ei g ht .” T he li g ht er c lic ked as h e f lic ked i t o n . T he f la m e li c ked th e end of th e c igaret t e a n d T o m t o o k o n e lo n g d rag bef ore c ontinu i n g , “ I wa s help i n g o u t a t my f amily’s restau r a n t . Do i n g o dd jo bs li ke p u tting away d ish es a n d f i lli n g s a lt s ha ker s . I t was a f ew h ou rs bef o r e we o p en ed a n d Ma wa s exp ec ting a d elivery. S o s he a s ked m e t o p r o p op en th e bac k d oor ‘c a u s e t he t r u c k wo u ld be

“ S h i t ,” ... “A nd I thought m i n e was fucke d up.” th ere any minu te.” S m o ke f led f r o m hi s li p s i n a d ark p all and h e p lo p p ed do wn o n t o a t r ees tu mp . “So I h obbled o ver t o t he do o r , c a r r y i n g th e h eavy ass bric k we u s ed t o keep i t o p en . Wh en I op ened it, t her e wa s a m a n p r o p p ed against wall with n o ha n ds o r f eet . H i s ey es were even gou ged o u t . B u t f r o m t he wa y hi s brow and eye soc ket s wer e wr i n kled I c o u ld still see th e f ear on hi s f a c e.” T o m f li c ked


s o m e a sh fr o m hi s ci gar e tt e and tu rned h is g a z e t o Syl vi a. “ I dr o ppe d th at bric k righ t on m y fo o t . Shat te r e d t he w ho le th ing. Haven’t b e en a bl e to w al k r i ght s i nce.” Pinc h ing th e

su mmer bree z e a s t hey ex c ha n g ed s t o r i es o f blood , love, a n d lo s t .

c iga r et t e be tw e e n hi s te e t h, h e u nlac ed h is s h o e a nd s l i ppe d o ut hi s fo ot. It was a sad , m a n g l e d thi ng w i t h scr aggly toes p ointing in a l l d ir ecti o ns.

EN D

“ Aw , po o r baby.” Sar casm drip p ed f rom eac h s y l l a b l e that l e ft he r mo uth . “Bu t yeah , I win.” S h e gl ance d up fr o m the gr a ve with th e sligh t es t s p l as h o f a pl ayful smi l e on h er f ac e. T o m l a u ghe d, s he at hi ng hi s lame f oot bac k in t o h is so ck and sho e . “ Y ou gotta ad mit, see in g g o uge d e ye ho l e s i s pr e tty messed u p .” “ Y e a h but I s aw my uncl e ’ s d ec ap itated h ead .” “ O k a y , fi ne .” To m he l d up h is h and s in d ef eat. “ Vic t o ry i s y o ur s.” S a t is fie d, Sy l vi a’s gaze s hi fted over to th e s pa r e s pade l y i ng ne xt t o t he bod y. “So, you jus t w a nt a pi ty par t y o r ar e you h ere to h elp ?” N o t w a nti ng t o ar gue , To m got u p , h is knee c r a ck ing as he w e nt. He pi c ked u p th e sh ovel a n d s t ar te d di ggi ng. T he sou nd s of th eir sh ov el s a g a ins t t he gr o und w hi sp ered in th e c ool 30


4 04 Passaic Ave K ath erine Qu inn

Below. Th e f ire p la c e br i c ks beg a n t o s hi f t :

T h ey t o r e t he be ach ho us e do w n in mid -Ju ly. A t fir s t a g as h came thr o ugh t he bac kyard sh ed : T h e h o m e o f r us t e d bi k e s , a br o ken sled ,

Th ey f ell d own wher e t he g r a n d p i a n o s t o o d Bac k th en, and s helves o n c e m a de o f m a p le wo o d,

A nd r o l l er s k ate s i mpo s s i bl e to u ntie.

Th en c ru mbled , t r o dden p i ec e by p i ec e, a s wi f t

T h a t m uggy afte r no o n t he y to o k th e rest,

Desc ent to map le a s h. T hey br u s hed a wa y Th e wic ker lov es ea t s la s t ; t he o ld p o r c h c ha i r s

B ul l do z in g p as t t he s l e e py o pe n d oor A nd t h r o u gh t he de n, the st ai r s, th e sec ond f loor.

Had roc ked awa y bey o n d t he s t o o p ed g r a y s t a i r s .

T h e s t a in e d gl ass w i ndo w s shattered next, a c rest

Yet still, th e ta ll blu e t u r r et c lu n g t ha t da y .

O f b l u e , da rk r e d, and w hi t e . P erh ap s th ey f ou nd

One last remain i n g wa ll r ef u s ed t o ben d

T h e s e a g l a ss bo w l , o nce hi dde n u nd erneath

Until th e d emoli t i o n wa ve wa s hed t hr o u g h: A f inal streak o f whi t e, g r ea t g la r es o f blu e.

T h e c r ea k y f l o o r s w i t h sand that su nk beneath T h e r u gs : it ’s si fte d thr o ugh t he tu mbling grou nd

31

Th at h u mid red J u ly , we s a w i t s en d.


Florenc e Ma “Gossip ”

32


“How abou t f or f o r t y do lla r s ? C o u ld y o u m a ke me a p ad d le th en?” s he i n qu i r ed f o r t he s ec o n d time.

T he Wo o dcar ve r and th e M ar i o ne t te Ke ve n P e r e z O n c e u po n a t i me — June 1 3 th of 19 87, to be e x a c t — a re ti r e d car pe nte r de c id ed to bu y a s m a l l s t o re i n t he mi ddl e o f Brooklyn. Sinc e h e w a s l it tl e , he had al w ay s l oved c raf ting w o o d e n fig ur i ne s and t o y s as a h obby. With n o wife o r chi l dr e n to spe ak of , retirement was dul l a n d l one l y, s o he fi gur e d h e’d try h is h and a t m a k in g a busi ne s s o f hi s w ood c arving. Ac co r din g t o a cr o o k e d si gn, the store u sed to be ca l l ed “ Ge ppe tt o ’ s Li e De t e ctors.” In an ef f ort t o s a v e s ome mo ne y , t he man simp ly c u t of f t h e s eco n d hal f o f the si gn, content with c all in g h is n e w st o r e “ G e ppe t to ’s .” S o m e da y s l ate r , a w o man dr a gged a you ng boy in t o t h e s to r e . The bo y’ s che ekswere stained w it h t ea r s as he s t r uggl e d w i t hou t su c c ess to fr e e h im s e l f fr o m the w o man’ s grasp . “ H el l o t h er e , si r . I w as w o ndering if you c ou ld m a k e m e a s o r t o f paddl e ,” t hewoman said , th e co r n e r s o f he r l i ps cur l i ng upward into a sinis t e r s m il e. T h e wo o dcar ve r l o o k e d be tw e en th e woman a n d t h e b aw l i ng chi l d and shook h is h ead . 33

Th e wood c arver sh o o k hi s hea d o n c e m o r e, th e h eaving sobs of t he c hi ld qu i et i n g s o m e wh at, as if h op e w er e bei n g r es t o r ed t o hi s tiny h eart. Th e wo m a n p u lled o u t f i ve t wen t y ­ d ollar bills f rom h er p u r s e a n d la i d t hem o n th e c ou nter. “Cou ld you make m e o n e n o w, s i r ?” s he a s ked f or th e th ird time. Th e wood c arver g la n c ed a t t he m o n ey . T he woman was willing t o p a y a hu n dr ed do lla r s f or wh at wou ld sim p ly be a r ec t a n g u la r s la b o f wood , h ard ly wort hy o f hi s c r a f t i n g s ki ll. W i t h no c u stomers u p t o t hi s p o i n t , t he wo o dc a r ver h ad no c h oic e bu t t o a c c ep t t he r equ es t . F r o m h is worksh op , h e c o u ld hea r t he r en ewed c r i es of th e you ng boy a s he c a r ved t he wo o den p a d d le. H e h and ed it t o t he wo m a n , who p r o m p t ly lef t th e sh op . Th e di s t r a u g ht blu e ey es o f t he boy were th e last t hi n g s t he wo o dc a r ver s a w a s th ey exited th e d oo r . Th e wood c arver c ou ld n o t s leep f o r t he n ex t f ew nigh ts. Wh enever he la i d hi s hea d t o r es t , h e wou ld h ear th e bo y c r y i n g , hi s ey es p lea d ing f or h elp . Du rin g ea c h s leep les s n i g ht , he


w o u l d g o to hi s w o r k s ho p a nd c arve someth ing in l ik ene ss o f the bo y — hi s th in arms, h is long n o s e, t h o se pi e r ci ng e ye s. By th e end of th e t h ir d we e k , t he w o o dcar ve r h ad mad e a lif e­ s iz ed m ar i o ne tt e i n the child ’s image W h e n t he w o o dcar ve r aw o ke th e next morn in g , t h e mar i o ne t te w as no t atop h is worktable w h er e he had l e ft i t. He ch ec ked th e f ront do o r a nd the w i ndo w s, t hi nking someone h ad b r o k en i n. W he n he w e nt to th e c h ec k th e b a ck d o o r , he fo und the ma rionette sitting on t h e w indo w s i l l , l o o k i ng o ut th e wind ow. A ga t h er i ng o f gi r l s w e r e pl aying h op sc otc h ou t s ide , t he i r gi ggl e s l o ud e nou gh to be h eard w it h in the st o r e . T he mar ionette tu rned to w a r d t h e w o o dcar ve r as he ap p roac h ed . “ H i, p apa!” T h e wo o dcar ve r sho ut e d and stu mbled bac k w a r d o nto the fl o o r . The m arionette h op p ed o ff t h e w i ndo w s i l l , i ts l i mbs sh aking eerily w it h each mo ve me nt i t to o k. “ A r e y o u o k ay , papa? A r i e l f ell d own like th at too!” T h e wo o dcar ve r ask e d w ho Ariel was, looking fr a n t ical l y ar o und the r o o m , as if h e th ou gh t s h e we re a do l l that had al so c ome to lif e.

“Ariel is th e on e wi t h t he p r et t y r ed ha i r o u t sid e! I wish I ha d p r et t y ha i r .” Th e marionet t e r a i s ed a ha n d, p u s hi n g a s i de th e red c ap the wo o dc a r ver ha d g i ven i t , a n d ru bbed th e sm o o t h s u r f a c e o f t he t o p o f i t s h ead . Th e woo dc a r ver wa t c hed a s i t m o ved t o th e nearest c lo s et . T he m a r i o n et t e dr a g g ed a mop f ree, lif t i n g i t s o t ha t i t s t en dr i ls f ell a t o p its h ead . It tu c ked t he g r a y s t r i n g s behi n d i t s ears and looked a t t he wo o dc a r ver . “Am I p retty, p a p a ?” Th e wood c arv er s i m p ly s t a r ed wi t h a n i n c r edu lou s look in h i s ey es , n o t da r i n g t o a n s wer . Th e marionet t e f r o wn ed, t he m a kes hi f t m o p ­ wig slip p ing of f i t s hea d. I t wa lked ba c k o ver to th e wind ows i ll a n d p u lled i t s elf u p . T he wood c arver f l ed t o hi s r o o m , lo c ked t he do o r , and lay in h is bed u n t i l t he n ex t m o r n i n g . Wh en h e retu r n ed t o t he ba c kr o o m , t he m a r i onette was sti ll s i t t i n g by t he wi n do w. F o r a moment, th e wo o dc a r ver t ho u g ht i t wa s li f e less again, u n t i l he n o t i c ed t he ba c k­a n d­f o r t h movement of t he m a r i o n et t e’s f i n g er s a lo n g one of its wris t s , a s i f i t wer e s c r a t c hi n g a t a n itc h . Th e f ollowing da y , t he wo o dc a r ver lef t t he store with a d u f f el ba g a n d t he hu n dr ed 34


do l l a r s in hi s po ck e t . A s us u al, th e marionette w a t ch e d the ne i ghbo r ho o d gi rlsp lay ou tsid e un t il t h e ir par e nt s cal l e d the m in. On th e gr o un d, one o f t he gi r l ’ s do l l s h ad been lef t b eh in d . The mar i o ne tt e o pe ned th e bac kd oor, pe ek e d a r o und t o mak e s ur e no one was watc h in g , a n d the n to o k the do l l bac k insid e. It s t a r e d a t the do l l , w hi ch l i fe lessly smiled bac k. H er l o n g , bl o nde hai r w as k e p t in p lac e by a pin k h a ir band t hat mat che d h er f lowing d ress. T h e m a r io ne t te gr i ppe d the doll’s h air and y a n k e d it to the si de . Se ve r a l loc kswere torn o ff, a n d it co nt i nue d unt i l o nly a f ew sh ort s t r a n ds o f hai r t o ppe d t he doll’s h ead . Th e m a r io n et t e thr e w t he do l l at th e wall, bu ry in g it s fa c e i nto i ts hands . T h e wood c arver s t eppe d into the back r o o m at th at moment, duffe l b a g unde r hi s ar m. He p lac ed it on th e gr o un d, wavi ng t he mar i o ne t te over as h e u n z ippe d t h e bag. T h e m a r io ne t te w o bbl e d t o w ard h im and ga s pe d a s so o n as i t co ul d se e th e bag’s c on t e n t s . T h e w o o dcar ve r pul l e d ou t a beau tif u l, b l u e s u mme r dr e s s , much fi ner th an any of th e o ut fit s t h e mar i o ne tt e had s een th e oth er girls w ea r . T he mar i o ne t te he l d i ts arms u p , letting t h e w o o d car ve r sl i p t he dr e s s onto it. It sp u n a r o u n d t h e r o o m, w atchi ng as th e 35

arou nd th e room, w a t c hi n g a s t hebo t t o m o f t he d ress swirled along her f eet . O n c e i t t u r n ed bac k to th e wood c ar ver , i t f o u n d hi m p u lli n g someth ing else f rom t he ba g — a wi g . Th e marionette stoo d p er f ec t ly s t i ll a s t he wood c arver ad ju sted t he blo n de wi g .T he wi g ’s loc ks were c u rled , a n d a s s o o n a s t hey wer e attac h ed , th ey bou nc ed a r o u n d wi t h ea c h de ligh ted step of th e m a r i o n et t e. I t r a n t o t he bath room, trying to lo o k a t i t s r ef lec t i o n i n t he mirror above th e sin k. T he wo o dc a r ver li f t ed it onto h is sh ou ld ers t o g i ve i t a bet t er vi ew. “Oh , p ap a! I’m a re a l g i r l! I ’m a r ea lly r ea l girl! ” sh e exc laimed .

t h e m a r i o n ette w obble d to ward him Th e next d ay, th e wo o dc a r ver let her g o o u t sid e to p lay along t he r es t o f t he n ei g hbo r h ood girls. One of t he g i r ls welc o m ed her t o a p retend tea p arty, w her e s he t o o k a s ea t be tween a stu f f ed rabbi t a n d a s t r i p ed c a t . O n th e oth er sid e of the wi n do w, t he wo o dc a r ver looked on with a sm i le t ha t c o u ld o n ly belo n g to a p rou d f ath er. EN D


Ou r Ninth Symp h ony Eliz abeth Winkelh of f I. S o n a t a A l l e gr o

III. Sc h erz o

G o in g d o w nst ai r s, as k i ng w here h e isH e’ s b ee n go ne as i f he ’ s under a fe r m a t a hal o . It r e st s upo n h is a n d o u r h e ads . Tak i ng co l o r

Su rely it ju s t c o u ldn ’t be t r u e,

fr o m m y sk i e s, ho l di ng hi m a way fr o m us . Be fo r e the w o r ds had lef t my mom’s l ip s , I k ne w w hat she w as go ing to say. I fel t t h e cl ammy sw e at upo n my p alms.

was, I h ad to keep c o m p o s u r e.

II. Ada g io

IV. Sonata R o n do

T h e s t il l ne ss i n the r o o m matc h ed th e d ead b ea t in my bl o o dst r e am. P i anissimo w a s h o w s he mi ght have sai d h e h a d l eft . He r me ss age w as f ortissimo a s it r ever be r ate d i n my mi nd . C r a s h in g , bangi ng mal l e ts o n my eard ru ms, do in g d a m age s o o ne r than I c ou ld f ind m ea n in g as i t sl o w l y sunk i n.

a sic k joke. C u t f r o m n o s e t o n a vel with a sh arp; s c r a p s belo n g i n g t o th em and not m e. Pa i n f u l a s i t

Th eir d u et wa s n o w a t r i o , ad d ing a new c o m p lex la y er o ver an alread y co m p li c a t ed p i ec e.

An A f lat vio li n c r es c en do ed.. Th e f amily i n t he f r a m e wa s n ’t t r u e. Th e lau nd ry s hi ver ed o n i t s c o r d. Th e h armoni es wer e a ll a s kew. Divorc e. It lo o ked u s i n t he ey e. Th e d ays we o n c e kn ew ha d p a s t , c ru mp led , y ello wed p a g es ha d f lo wn by . I knew th is c o m p o s i t i o n wa s o u r la s t .

36


Th e Su mmit Casey Peta

In A r i zo na, my bac k against th e glass of ou r bow win do w w hi l e I r e cl ine on a wh ite, d istressed -wood en benc h, o n the tuft s of a sh eep skin th row as wh ip p ed as mer i n g u e— l i k e I’m t he d ah lia in an ind oor f lower box. My h air cur l s be hi nd my ears like ram h orns—all to th e c h at t er o f my br ace let of baby teeth . Th at c omf orting weight o f my w e dding ring, mad e ou t of you r moth er’s ash es , me t e o r i t e du st, and wooly mammoth bone. In th e kit c hen , a s t i ck o f ci nnamon, p ep p ermint c and y, and c ayenn e p ep p er . Y o ur e y e s th e sh ap e of milky almond s. Th e mou ntain s , upsi de do w n, p rinc ess c u t d iamond s ringed by smoke r i n g s o f sno w , cut th e sky. Ou r h ou se at th e p oint of a tria n g le shado w . In th e valley like blu ebird eggs in a nest. When y o u l o o k at me , it’s like staring into th e su n, bu t th at h u r t s — wi t h y o u, t he o r bs of ligh t ju st d anc e in my vision like sug a r p lu m s .

37


Elen a

“ N a i led I t ”

38


Hou s e - H a y

“ C o b w ebs”

39


Seventy or Eigh ty Ch ristmases Jennif er Fred eric k I imagine th e sou nd my gu ms will make wh en my teeth are gone. I migh t still try t o draw c lu msily on my tissu e p ap er eyelid s, I’ll look good f or you . We will bot h sh it ou r p ants and f orget to wash ou r h air . We c an go groc ery sh op p ing at eleven in th e morning and f lirt with th e c ash ier s . I won’t h ave mu c h of an ap p etite so you c an d o th e c ooking wh ile I sit in th e loveseat we bou gh t years ago, th e on e with th e red wine stain th at never c ame o u t . I ’ll h old a book inc h es f rom my bif oc als. You are h id eou s now th at you are bald , you r stomac h h angs over you r belt like it was too tired to tigh ten u p . I c an’t remember wh at I was read ing abou t. Ou r voic es are f ad ed and we’ve ru n ou t o f id eas f or Ch ristmas p resents so we ju st sit. I say I h op e you d on’t ever h ave a heart attac k and you say th anks I h op e yo u don’t ever h ave a stroke and you smile with yellow teeth I d o with my d entu res. Th is is wh at we say ever nigh t bef ore bed th ou gh neith er of u s really sleep s muc h a nd th at c ou ld be bec au se we are laz y now or bec au se we mean it every time. 40


T he El e cti o n Team El i zabe th M at tson I t ca n b e t r i ck y to ar r ange an event wh en you d o n ’t k no w ho w many pe o pl e will be attend ing. I t w a s Ki e r an’ s faul t, r e al l y. We h ad asked h im t o in v it e anyo ne that he t ho u gh t migh t h elp o u t . H e had t y pe d o ut a s mall, c onc ise mes s a g e : “ Yo u ar e i nvi te d, at 6:00 at th e big old t h ea t er on M ar ch 23 . P l e as e c ome. We’ll h ave fo o d .” He had the n s pe nt hi s p ortion of th e c a m p a ign budge t o n pr i nt i ng ou t 20,000 c op ie s a n d g o ne do o r to do o r to ensu re th at very r egis t e r ed vo t e r i n to w n go t one. I t w a s n ’t unt i l l at e r , w he n we were p atting h im o n t h e back fo r hi s i ni t i ati ve th at we realiz ed t h e fa t a l mi st ak e : he hadn’ t asked f or any R S VP s . N o w, it w o ul d be a tr age dy th at wou ld en s ur e t h e candi dat e ’s fai l ur e at th e elec tion if we co ul dn’ t ge t at l e ast a r o ugh estimate. Sh e wa s t o anno unce t hat s he w as joining th e rac e t h er e , a nd fi r st i mpr e s s i o ns are vital. If we m a d e t o o much fo o d, t he vo ters wou ld th ink t h a t s h e pr o mo t e d w ast e and oversp end ing. If we m a de t o o l i t tl e , w hy , the re wou ld be riots in t h e s t r e e ts ! 41

It was th en d ete r m i n ed t ha t we wo u ld n eed t o sp lit u p and org a n i z e i n o r der t o c o m ba t t hi s p roblem. We h a d a m o n t h bef o r e t he p r o p o s ed d ate of th e d inner . O u r c lo t hi n g c o o r di n a t o r Pamela su ggeste d t ha t we s en d o u t a n o t her series of c ard s, en c o u r a g i n g t ho s e f r o m t he op p osing p artie s t o s t a y a wa y a n d p o s s i bly g i v ing an R SVP noti c e. T hi s wa s o f c o u r s e i m p o s sible; K ieran wa s i n c ha r g e o f t he i n vi t a t i o n s and h ad alread y s p en t a ll o f t he m o n ey a llo t ted to p ap er ad ver t i s em en t s . Th ou gh we were o u t o f c a r d m o n ey , we ha d more f ood , med ic a l, a n d wa r dr o be m o n ey t ha n seemed stric tly n ec es s a r y . S t a n ley , o u r c hef , su ggested th at we wr i t e o u t o u r m es s a g e o n c u p c akes, d onu ts , o r s o m e o t her ea s i ly di s t r i b u table f ood item s a n d g et t he m es s a g e a c r o s s th at way. We c ou ld lea ve t hem o u t i n p u b lic areas with str i c t i n s t r u c t i o n s t o o n ly t a ke one if you were g o i n g t o t he even t , a n d g et a n id ea of attend an c e n u m ber s t ha t wa y . W e s ho t d own th at id ea a s well, a s i t wo u ld t a ke a t o ll on th e f ood bu d g et a n d p o s s i bly s u g g es t t ha t th e c and id ate wa s i r r es p o n s i ble i n m a t t er s o f nu trition. Stanley th en su g g es t ed t ha t we c o u ld s u bs t i tu te c arrots f or c u p c a kes , a n d p o s s i bly s er ve some f orm of edi ble c lo t hi n g a t t he even t i f


t h e b u dge t fo r the fo o d pr o v ed to be u nf ea s ib l e. T h a t wa s de e me d a pl ausi bl e sec ond op tion if n o t h in g be t te r co ul d be fo und . Unf ortu nately, b eca u s e the pape r budge t had been sp ent K i e r a n wa s unabl e t o use t r adi tional notes to r e c o r d t h e sugge s t i o n, and we h ad n’t p u t any t h in g in t he budge t fo r me moriz ation. A b r ie f pe r i o d o f de bate and p anic ensu ed , u n t il t h e candi date s ugge s t e d th at in th e absenc e o f p a p e r , and co ns i de r i ng t hat h e was not au t h o r iz e d to us e t he cl o thi ng bu d get, K ieran co ul d t a k e no te s o n hi s sk i n. As ou r salaried w o r k er budge t r e mai ne d he alth y and on-trac k, t h is wa s a w o nde r ful i de a. We p raised h er in ge n u it y a nd l e ade r s hi p sk i l l s, and were more im pr e s s ed t han e ve r w i t h the imp ortanc e of e n s ur in g he r s mo o t h e l e ct i o n. A ft er a b out hal f an ho ur o f ad miring th e c an did a t e, we r e t ur ne d t o t he previou s matter o f r edo n e adve r ti s i ng. W e dec id ed to revisit t h e id e a o f the cl o t hi ng budg et. Pamela p u t h e r fo o t do w n. She had cal cu lated th e amou nt fo r ex a ctl y 3 65 pr o pe r o ut fi ts f or a woman of t h e ca n d i date ’ s age , s o that sh e c ou ld not be ca u gh t s e e mi ng l azy o r s l o bby in h er ou tward a p pe a r a nce .

Af ter all, th e im p o r t a n c e o f f i r s t i m p r es s i o n s was th e reason behi n d t hi s i s s u e i n t he f i r s t p lac e. If it seem ed hi g h, t ha t wa s ju s t t he c o s t of 36 5 p airs of d i s t i n c t , y et equ a lly p r a c t i c a l and tastef u l p air s o f s ho es . I’m p rou d to say t ha t i t wa s m y o wn s o lu tion th at end ed t hi s p a r t i c u la r s t a lem a t e. I reasoned th at we di d n o t a c t u a lly n eed 365 d istinc t ou tf its, ju s t t he a p p ea r a n c e o f t hem . Th eref ore, it wou ld be m u c h ea s i er t o bu y ha lf of th at nu mber a n d s p en d a c o m p a r a t i vely small p erc entag e o f t he bu dg et o n dy es a n d bleac h es, so th a t we wo u ld be a ble t o r evi t a li z e old er garments s o t ha t t hey c o u ld g o u n r ec o g niz ed . All involved ap p la u ded m y i dea , a n d i t wa s d ec id ed th at we c o u ld c o r r ec t t he c a r d er r o r by wearing and di s t r i bu t i n g t - s hi r t s wi t h t he ap p rop riate mess a g e i n s t r a t eg i c a r ea s a r o u n d town. K ieran wo r ked o u t a s c hedu le o f m a n h ou rs on h is left t hi g h a n d t he m a t t er wa s d ec id ed . Unf ortu nately, t hi n g s wer e n o t qu i t e t ha t s i m p le. Pamela d ra f t ed a qu i t e n i c e a n d i n f o r m a tive memorand um des c r i bi n g t he p r o c edu r e f or R SVPing and t he even t i t s elf , a s well a s enc ou raging onl y t ho s e who wer e li kely 42


t o s uppo r t and gi ve go o d public ity f or th e c a n did a te ’ s pl at fo r m to att e nd . H owever, given t h e l en gt h i t co ul d o nl y fi t on XX L siz ed sh irts a n d a b o ve , w hi ch shar pl y l i m ited th e d istribu -

th at everyone re leva n t wo u ld be a ble t o s ee somebod y with a s hi r t a n d g et t he m es s a g e with ou t losing t o o m a n y .

t io n p o s si bi l i ti e s.

Unf ortu nately, n o t ever y o n e s ha r ed m y di s c r e tion.

As s p e echw r i t e r , I e nco ur aged h er to attemp t t o pa r e d o w n t he mat e r i al and eliminate u n n ece s s a r y par agr aphs such as th e ou tline of p o s s ib l e me nu i te ms, but o u t of some p etty g r udge agai ns t me fo r my brilliant d ye su g g e s t io n s he pr o ve d unw i l l i ng to c oop erate. As I w a s n o t autho r i ze d to w o r k on anyth ing in v o l vin g c l o t hi ng and w e di d not h ave a bu d get s e t a s id e fo r e di t o r i al w o r k , I was u nable to g e t a n y c hange s made .

Th e c and id ate, i t s eem s , ha d g i ven a ll ex c es s garments to a cha r i t y wo r ker t ha t ha d r equ es t ed th em af ter snea ki n g o u t o f t he hea dqu a r ters in a bid f or ea r ly g o o d p u bli c i t y . At t he time, th ree qu ar t er s o f t he s t o c k wer e u n di s tribu ted , and w e wer e f o r c ed t o r eo r der s o m e more. Lu c kily, the lo n g s hi r t s ha d c a u g ht o n a s d resses f or p arti c u la r ly s m a ll g i r ls , g i vi n g t he message great e x p o s u r e a m o n g p a r en t s .

I w a s , h o w e ve r , par t o f the staf f and th eref ore el ig ib l e fo r t he mo de l i ng and d istribu tion of

Traged y stru c k a g a i n , ho wever , when a t y p o was d isc overed wi t hi n t he s hi r t s — p r o ba bly du e to th e lac k of an edi t i n g bu dg et .

t h e s h ir ts. T he o nl y o ne s e xemp t were th e c an d id a t e, who co ul d no t appe ar in p u blic u ntil h er o ffici al anno unce me nt a nd th e solid if ic a t io n o f he r i mage , and Ki e r an, wh o was u nable t o b a t h e due to the i mpo r t ant rec ord s kep t on h is s k in and may the r e fo r e give a bad imp res s io n . W h il e di st r i buti ng s hi r ts , I tried to c alc u late t h e o p t im al numbe r and de mograp h ic s of p eo p l e t o g i ve t he m t o i n ho pe s of ensu ring 43

We were f orc ed t o i s s u e a c o s t ly r ec a ll a n d reord er a wh ole n ew ba t c h o f t he s hi r t s . U n f ortu nately, th o s e t ha t ha d been g i ven t o t he c h arity were u nr ec o ver a ble. Pa m ela wa s i n h ysteric s, c alc ula t i n g a n d r ec a lc u la t i n g o n K i eran’s inc reasing ly g r i m y ba c k. W e wer e f o r c ed to red u c e th e c a n di da t e’s s t y le p la n t o o n e tastef u l su it, wh i c h c o u ld be blea c hed a n d r ed yed regu larly t o s u i t c ha n g i n g f a s hi o n s .


S a dl y , s he w o ul d ne e d t o go baref oot, bu t th at co ul d b e spun t o co nt r i bute to a ru stic , ap pr o a c h a bl e i mage . T h e r eal t r o ubl e be gan w he n th e R SVPs started t o c o m e i n. W e r e al i ze d as one th at we d id n o t h a ve any budge t to r e ad and organiz e th e RS VP s . T ho ugh i t co ul d be a rgu ed to c ou nt as pa p e r , gi vi ng i t to Ki e r an w ou ld nec essitate in c r ea s i ng hi s sal ar y and detrac ting f rom th e r e s t o f e ve r y o ne e l s e ’ s payment bu d gets, wh ic h w e v o t e d do w n w i th o nl y o ne d issenting vote. W e w er e fo r ce d t o do an e y eball estimate, with t h e ge n er al co ns e ns us be i ng “a lot.” W it h t h at fi gur e i n mi nd, Stanley started m a k in g the r e fr e s hme nts e arly. He sp ent th e e n t ir e t y o f the fo o d budge t on c u p c ake in gr e d ien ts and s t ar te d mak i ng th em a week in a d v a n ce , i n ho pe s o f havi ng enou gh f or a p os s ib l e 20 ,0 0 0 gue s t s. A s w e d id not h ave th at s t o r a ge capaci ty, w e w e r e forc ed to p u t th em in t h e o l d t he ate r ahe ad o f time with ou t ref rig e r a t io n . W h e n t he e ve ni ng fi nal l y arrived , th e lac k o f c l o t h i ng mo ne y fo r ce d most of u s aid es to

Th e c u p c akes h a d a t t r a c t ed m i c e, who wer e p u sh ing th e atten da n c e r a t es u p i n t o f i g u r es beyond wh at we ha d a c c o u n t ed f o r , a n d t he h u man gu ests (of whi c h t her e s eem ed t o o n ly bee a f ew h u nd red) wer e f o r c ed i n t o s ea t s i n th e bac k or stan di n g r o o m . To my h orror, c er t a i n g u es t s o f bo t h m u r i n e and h u man p ers u a s i o n s s eem ed t o ju s t be t a k ing c u p c akes and lea vi n g . H o r r i f i ed a t t he i dea th at ou r work m i g ht en d u p g o i n g u n s een , I d raf ted Pamela a n d S t a n ley a n d we u s ed o u r great salary bu dg et t o blo c k t he do o r s o n c e t he room h ad f illed i n . T ho u g h I g o t s o m e t hr ea t s , I ref u sed to bu dg e, r em em ber i n g t ha t t he long-f orgotten m edi c a l bu dg et wa s s t i ll u n tou c h ed . Wh en th e c and id a t e s t a r t ed her s p eec h, th ou gh , it was per f ec t . My wo r ds wer e a s f la w less as my word s o f t en a r e, a n d t he c a n di da t e’s only slip u p was when s he ha d t r o u ble r ea di n g wh at was written i n s i de K i er a n ’s n a vel. When sh e got to th e en d a n d dec la r ed her i n t en t i o n s as mayor, sh e ea r n ed a r o a r o f a p p la u s e a n d squ eaks of ap p rova l.

w ea r o nl y the e xt r a-l ar ge sh irts. Th e exc ep tion w a s K ie r an, w ho had my speec h f or th e c and i da t e p r i nt e d o n hi s che s t and th eref ore h ad to s t a n d n a k e d.

EN D

44


So now I ju st c all th at bald gu y Dynamite H a n d Skylar K ramer-Bald win

T h e s umme r be fo r e I l e ave for c ollege my best f riend , K ayla, starts d a t i n g H ei n eken , a t wen t y - o n e y ea r o l d, co mmuni ty-co l l e ge-trac k gu y wh o lives in a rotting th ree-b edr o o m ho u s e o f f t he bo u le v a r d with se ve n o t he r pe o pl e, and th e f irst time I visit th e 6 09 h ou se I a m g r eet ed by f o u r u n f a m il ia r g uys i n w i fe -be at e r s wh o are sip p ing Lagu nitas’ IPAs wh ile h o m e t a t t o o i n g R O Y ALT Y o n t h e b r east o f a bl e ach-bl o nde girl—wh o c ou ld n’t h ave been old er th a n s i x t een — a n d li s t en i n g t o A n d r e Ni ck at i na’s “ Smi l i n’ .” H eineken lead s u s into th e kitc h en, wh i c h ha d a p er p et u a lly c lo g g ed s in k t h a t summe r , and ask s us Wh at you d rinking? So I mix a ru m and c o ke a n d s i t do wn t o s m o ke k iwi- s t r a w be r r y shi sha o ut of a th ree-h ose makesh if t h ookah th at h a s a Pa t r ó n bo t t le a s t he ba s e— w h ich is pr e tt y i nge ni o us i f you ask me—and af ter th e th ird d rink and t he hu n dr edt h p u f f I c hec k m y p h o ne and no ti ce i t’s o nly 7 PM. Th ere’s a knoc k on th e d oor and t hi s s m a ll ba ld g u y wa lks i n w it h o ut w ai t i ng fo r the do o r to be answered and smiling, h e sets d own t wo ha n dles o f R u bi n o f f a n d a l it er o f Spr i te and says Ladies, th e p arty h as arrived , th en p roc eeds t o p o u r t he a c et o n e-s c en t ed v o d k a into o ur dr i nk s. The bald gu y stic ks h is stu bby h and ou t and w e s ha ke, a n d hi s ha n d i s r ea l s we a t y e ve n tho ugh t o day i s th e c oolest d ay of th e su mmer, and th en s qu eez es n ex t t o m e o n t he co uch . I can sme l l t he al co hol on h is breath and th e B.O. f rom h is ar m p i t s a s he a s ks m e wha t m y ph il o s o phy i s o n tat to o s , and I say Somed ay, bu t not tod ay, and h e po u t s hi s li p s a s we s i t a wk w a r dl y in s i l e nce so I as k hi m wh at h is name is, and to be h onest I st i ll c a n ’t r em em ber hi s r ea l n a m e . A f te r a co upl e mo r e d rinks I am on th e bac k p orc h with K ayla a n d H ei n eken s m o ki n g Am er i ca n S p iri ts w he n s udde nl y th ere is a d eaf ening exp losion f rom insid e a n d I dr o p m y C o r o n a , wa t c h t h e gl a s s shar ds fl y o ut fr o m every d irec tion, and h ear Someone take m e t o t he f u c ki n g ho s p i t a l. W e r un insi de and t he r e the bald gu y is, skin blown of f h is f ingers an d whi t e bo n e s t i c ki n g o u t o f dr ip pin g r e d fl e s h, and t he n K ayla vomits, I lau gh —wh ic h I blame on t he a lc o ho l— a n d H ei n eken s c r ea m s at t he bal d guy to stop staining th e c arp et righ t bef ore every o n e els e jo i n s u s a n d t he ba ld 45


Floren c e Ma “Vo lc a n o ”

gu y t el l s u s h e fo und a st i ck o f dyna mi t e a n d in s is t s he ne e de d to mak e su re i t w as n’ t r ea l “ fo r t he s afe t y o f e ve r y on e .” T h e h o us emate s st ar t to scr e am at e ac h o t h e r , fi ghti ng o ve r w he r e t he d y n am it e c a m e f r o m, w ho has to take th e g uy t o t h e h os pi tal , and w ho ge ts to ke e p o n dr in k in g, unt i l e ve nt ual l y th e b ald g uy ’ s fa ce i s al mo st a pal e gr e e n an d he’s r us h ed t o t he e me r ge ncy r oom whi le H ein ek e n —w ho t e l l s me thi s kind of t hi ng is n o r mal ar o und he r e — and I c le an up t h e b l o o d s pl att e r e d al l o ver th e w a l l s a n d fu r ni tur e , and Kayl a ta ke s a l a p a r o und the bl o ck s i nce s h e c an ’t h el p b ut p uk e e ve r y ti me s he sees b lo od . W h e n e v e r y t hi ng s e tt l e s do w n we all a gr e e t h a t i t ’ s be dt i me , and a s I’ m d r ift in g o ff t o s l e e p o n a be d-bugi n f e s t e d c o u ch , I se e the mut i l ate d han d in m y m in d and t e l l my s e l f tha t th i s ho us e is s k etchy and I ne e d t o make n e w fr ie n d s, and as e xhaus t i o n f i n ally t a k e s o v e r , my l ast t ho ught i s S om e d a y , b ut n ot t o day.

END 46


E a ti ng E l iz a be t h G e e

D ee r a n t le r s snagge d i n a h y d r a nge a bush,

tilap ia

t h e ir fl o we r pe t al s ar e

wh ile I c ried

e it h e r pur pl e o r bl ue

abou t wh o knows wh at

b a s ed o n so i l pH. Ze r o

bu t d ef initely not abou t eggs,

Th e ba d ki ds u s ed t o

t h r o ugh 6 , aci di c,

wh ic h I ate every d ay,

tu g on i t ,

8 t h r o u gh 1 4, basi c,

Sc rambled ,

Som et i m es , I wo n der i f

7 , t h e a g e at w hi ch

bef ore h ead ing of f

I’m b a d.

m y m o m st o o d w i t h my

to sc h ool in kind ergarten

Th e r ea s o n why f o o d

gr a n d m othe r se l l i ng e ggs

with a glass of Ovaltine.

goes ba d i s bec a u s e m i c r o o r g a n i s m s

in t h e ir vi l l age ,

Mrs. O’R eilly, I’m su re,

eat a t i t

fa r a wa y i n bo t h pl ace

was h aving an af f air with

u ntil i t t u r n s di f f er en t s ha des

a n d t im e,

th e art teac h er wh o wore

of gr een a n d br o wn a n d

a s t o r y s he to l d me

h is h air in a waist-long

black, t he c o lo r o f a p o la r bea r ’s s ki n

o v er a p l at e o f unto uche d

blac k p onytail.

wh en a ll y o u c a n s ee i s whi t e.

47


“Shwe d a g o n g P a g o da”

An g eli c a Mo r g a n

48


Su mmits Lau ra Grau

Ci r cu lar c lou d s c rown th e p eaks of mou ntain s A nd h e stand s at th e base looking u p —imag i n i n g T he d iz z iness th at c omes with stand ing th e r e. Every su mmit reveals even h igh er p eaks— He talks abou t th e minerals in th e roc ks: Di a mond s in th e c rac ks beneath h is f eet, Even wh en th ey’re snowf lakes ref lec ting T he su n on Everest. H e breaks new trails W i th ou t even bend ing th e twigs on trees, Cl i m bs u p ic y walls with ou t c lip p ing in— T he ad ventu re in h is eyes is bu t th e ref lec ti o n O f th e mou ntain—H e loses th e blaz es W h en h e c loses h is eyes.

49


Stages of Man Lau ra Grau

H e b e g a n i n r e d pl ai d, o n a bac kp ac k B a b y ch ai r i n M as s achuse tt s—with h is d ad . H e wo r e t he s mal l e st hi k i ng boots ever mad e, S m il in g on t he t r ai l s w hi l e his mom took p ic tu res. If t h a t is w he r e hi s l o ve o f hills began, I wil l n e ve r ask — a bo y fo r ce d to grow W h e n Le u k e mi a s t o l e hi s dad . Long h air A n d s k a t ebo ar ds , s po k e n w o rd p oetry— T h a t d id n’t br i ng hi s dad back. At least H e l ea r n ed the me ani ng o f giving a th u mbs u p . “ T h a t ’ s mo s t l y al l I r e me mber,” h e said T o m e o ne ni ght— T humbs up , mu c h love, T a k e ca r e o f y o ur mo m. W h e n I m e t hi m, he had he aled —a man W it h a w a r r i o r s pi r i t w ho had road Ra s h fr o m sk at e bo ar ds — j us t f or f u n.

A man wh o c u t hi s ha i r o f f a n d let i t g r o w R igh t bac k. A m a n who li s t en ed Silently and sm i led— who r ec i t ed Th e p oems th at help ed hi m t hr o u g h On ou r h ikes ba c k do wn f r o m s u m m i t s — It always got d a r k, a n d I wa s a lwa y s s c a r ed. His voic e ec h oed o n t he em p t y t r a i ls . I ask h im wh o he lo o ks li ke— Mornings too co ld t o lea ve hi s s i de. He says, “My m o m t hi n ks I ha ve da d’s bo dy .” And I th ink to m y s elf — m a y be y o u ha ve His eyes.

50


B r e a d & Ro s e s, G o l d Rush , Th e Feminine M ys t i que , and M r s. Lebeau

th at Mrs. Lebeau m u s t ha ve g i ven m e t ha t i m p ression.

A nna Davis

Mrs. Lebeau was a c lo s e f r i en d o f m y m o t her ’s . Sinc e 19 9 2 th ey ha d wo r ked t o g et her i n t he

Mr s . Le be au l i ve d w i t h he r silent h u sband o n W il l ow Str e e t , w he r e t he oaks stood ex a ct l y t e n fe e t apar t fr o m o ne anoth er and th e p r iv e t h e dge s gr e w s o tal l th at it was imp os s ib l e t o pe e r o ve r t he m i nto th e metic u lou sly t en de d g ar de ns be y o nd. In J u ne, th e p rivet b l o s s o ms w e r e i nt o xi cat i ng. Mrs. Lebeau was v e r y p a rt i cul ar abo ut he r hed ges. Th ey h ad to b e pr un e d w e e k l y to a he i gh t of no lower th an eig h t y - s e ve n i nche s, and i f a single twig was o u t o f pl ace , s he fi r e d the ga rd ener and h ired a n ew o ne . But e ve n he r favorite gard eners we r e n eve r qui te go o d e no ug h . Th is su mmer, h er r o s e s w e r e si mpl y r agge d . T h e s t r a nge thi ng abo ut M r s. Lebeau was th at a l t h o ugh s he co ul d no t have been over f if ty, s h e s ee m e d much o l de r . He r mannerisms, h er c l o t h es , he r w ay o f tal k i ng h ad a f ad ed qu ality, a s if t h e y hai l e d fr o m a di fferent c entu ry or a b o o k . I al w ay s ass ume d i t was bec au se sh e was E u r o pe a n. I had ne ve r be e n to Eu rop e, and I im a gin ed t hat i t s t i l l r e se mbled th e world of a D ic k en si an no ve l . It o ccur s to me now, th ou gh , 51

Dep artment of P a t ho lo g y a t Gr eeley Gen er a l H osp ital. And bef o r e t ha t , t hey ha d been c la s s mates in med ic a l s c ho o l – wha t Mr s . Lebea u termed h er “wild y ea r s . ” S he wa s , a s s he n ever tired of telling m e, t he f i r s t f em a le An g lo Frenc h exp atriat e t o ever r ec ei ve a m edi c a l d egree f rom St. B a r n a ba s U n i ver s i t y . S he f u lly exp ec ted me to f o llo w i n her f o o t s t ep s . “ Ah, Abigail,” sh e wo u ld s i g h i n a s t r a n g e Lo n do n Frenc h -Mid wester n a c c en t , “ S t . B a r n a ba s wa s not an easy p lac e t o be a wo m a n , a n d i t p r o b ably still isn’t, bu t i t wa s a n ex c ellen t edu c a tion. You wou ld do ver y well t her e, s o lo n g a s you knew wh at y o u wa n t ed.” T hen , a dju s t i n g th e p in th at loc ked her bu n i n p la c e, s he wo u ld squ int at me and s a y , “ T he wo r ld n eeds m o r e you ng lad ies wh o kn o w wha t t hey wa n t .” I wasn’t su re wh a t s he m ea n t by t ha t , a n d I d id n’t mu c h c are. I kn ew ex a c t ly wha t I wa n t ed : to be a world - f a m o u s c elli s t who wen t o n international tou r s t o Vi en n a a n d S a i n t Pe tersbu rg and Be i ji n g a n d who s e m u s i c m a de grown men weep. N o w I t hi n k I wo u ld s et t le


fo r a s t eady gi g i n a maj o r o rc h estra. R egard l es s , b e c o mi ng a do cto r w as not on my agend a, a n d S t . Bar nabas so unde d horrid . I ap p lied to J u l ia r d, Ne w Engl and Co ns ervatory, and th e

Every Su nd ay w a s t he s a m e. I wo u ld s i t o n th e living room wi n do w s ea t , s i p p i n g m y lem onad e and worry i n g t ha t t he s p i der o u t s i de wou ld eventu all y f i n d i t s wa y i n s i de, whi le Mr .

C u r t is I ns t i tute o f M usi c. I did n’t h ave a saf e t y . E v e r y ti me M r s . Le be au a sked me wh eth er I h a d a ppl i e d to St . Bar naba s, I c h anged th e s ub je c t . Eve nt ual l y she st o pp ed asking.

Lebeau tinkered wi t h hi s br o ken r a di o s i n a n u nassu ming c orn er , a n d m y m o t her a n d Mr s . Lebeau gossip ed .

My ch il d ho o d w as pe ppe r e d with Su nd ay visits t o M r s . Le be au’s ho use . M y m oth er wou ld d rag m e a l o n g unt i l I w as o l d e nou gh to oc c u p y m y s e l f w i th ce l l o l e s s o ns. I hated going. Th e h o u s e s me l l e d o f s t al e k i tt y litter even th ou gh t h e c a t was l o ng de ad and, su p p osed ly, bu ried in t h e Li tt l e F r i e nds Ce me tery twenty miles a w a y . W hat w as w o r s e , M r s. Lebeau insisted o n ca l l ing me A bi gai l . A bby , sh e th ou gh t, was a t r it e a nd t o tal l y unacce ptable nic kname f or a c h a r m ing gi r l l i k e me . M y one c onsolation wa s t h a t she w o ul d l e t me drink lemonad e with a s t r a w out o f a r e al gl as s . Wh en I was eigh t, I b ega n s avi ng t he s t r aw s , bec au se I h op ed to m a k e it into the G ui nne s s Book of World R e c o r d s w it h the l ar ge s t s t r aw c ollec tion ever r eco r de d . I hi d t he m i n a heap u nd er my bed . A few m onths l ate r my mo th er f ou nd th em and t h r ew t he m o ut . A fte r t hat , visiting Mrs. Leb ea u s e eme d e ve n l e ss w o r t hwh ile.

Mrs. Lebeau h a d n o c hi ldr en . I t wa s a s en s i tive su bjec t. One da y s he br o a c hed i t wi t h my moth er. Livin g i n s u c h a bi g ho u s e wi t h ju st Otto f or c om p a n y wa s s o lo n ely , s he s a i d. If only th ere h a d been li t t le o n es . “ I t r i ed, Mary,” Mrs. Leb ea u m o a n ed t o m o t her . “ I t r i ed so h ard , bu t I never m a n a g ed.” Mr. Lebeau p ip e d u p f r o m hi s c o r n er , “ I t wasn’t f or lac k o f s ex a p p ea l! ” whi c h m a de hi s wif e c lap a h and o ver hi s m o u t h a n d o r der hi m ou t of th e h ou se . Th ou gh I h ad se ver a l y o u n g er br o t her s a n d sisters, I was Mr s . Lebea u ’s s p ec i a l p et . My siblings d id not en vy m e. I r es en t ed t hei r g o o d lu c k. Every oth er la dy we kn ew do t ed o ver th eir c h eru bic l i t t le f a c es whi le r es er vi n g o n ly brief smiles f or m e – t he o ld n ews o f t he f a m ily. (Th ey bec am e m u c h m o r e i n t er es t ed i n m e wh en I won th e O hi o S t a t e J u n i o r C ello C o m p etition two yea r s i n a r o w. ) Y et t he o n e 52


wo m a n who s e at te nt i o n I l e a st c oveted d ec id ed t h a t I w a s si mpl y dar l i ng. A fter eac h visit, I t r ie d t o mak e my si bl i ngs j e alou s. I told th em h o w l a r ge M r s . Le be au’ s ho u se was, h ow grand

We wou ld meet t he n ex t da y a t 1 1 :1 5 a t B r ea d & R oses Caf e f or a n ea r ly lu n c h, a n d t hen t r y to make a 1:00 s ho wi n g o f Go ld R u s h. I ha d su ggested Gold R u s h f o r t he s a ke o f c o n ve -

t h e s t a ir cas e , ho w t hi ck t he c arp ets, h ow re fr es h in g the l e mo nade . G o i ng to Mrs. Leb ea u ’s , I bo ast e d, w as the be st p art of th e week. N o o n e e ve r be l i e ve d me . I c omp lained abou t t h e v is its to my par e nt s far too of ten f or th at.

nienc e. It was t he o n ly m a t i n ee t ha t wa s n ’t rated G, and it ha d r ec ei ved f a vo r a ble r evi ews . Besid es, it was hi s t o r i c a l f i c t i o n . Mr s . Lebea u wou ld p robably lo ve i t .

B eca u s e o f my spe ci al r e l ati onsh ip with Mrs. Le b e a u, i t came as no sur pr ise wh en, th e su m m e r b efo r e I w e nt t o NEC, s h e asked my moth er if s h e co ul d t ak e me o n a “good bye ou ting.” J u s t a l ittl e s o me thi ng. It w ou ld take only a few h o ur s . W e co ul d do w hatever I liked . “ Y o u m ig ht as w e l l go , A bby. You h ave noth ing el s e t o do and i t’l l ge t yo u o u t of th e h ou se,” m y m o t h e r ur ge d me . She had a p oint. I h ad s pe n t t h e pas t mo nth mo pi ng arou nd bec au se I h a d fo rgo t te n to ge t a summ er job and my fr ie n d s w e r e al l bus y. I r o l l ed of f th e c ou c h , l o o k ed u p M r s. Le be au i n th e p h onebook, and d ia l e d h er numbe r . He l l o , Mrs. Lebeau …Yes, it ’s A b b y – I me an, A bi gai l …Yes, th ank you v e r y m uch fo r yo ur o ffe r , I wou ld love to get t o g e t h er … Ho w abo ut the movies? A few m inut e s l ate r , o ur pl ans were set. 53

I arrived at Bre a d & R o s es a t 1 1 :1 7 . Mr s . Le beau was alread y t her e wa i t i n g f o r m e. S he was leaning aga i n s t t he f en c e t ha t en c lo s ed th e ou td oor eat i n g a r ea , a n x i o u s ly c r a n i n g h er nec k to see do wn bo t h en ds o f t he a ven u e. Wh en sh e c au ght s i g ht o f m e, s he wa ved a n d, looking relieved , t r o t t ed t o t he en d o f t he bloc k to greet m e. “ Ah, Abi g a i l, I wa s a f r a i d you h ad f orgott en ! ” s he ex c la i m ed, g i vi n g m e a lip stic ked p ec k o n bo t h c heeks . H er la ven der mu sk p erf u me li n g er ed i n m y n o s e f o r t he r es t of th e d ay. Th ere was only o n e t a ble lef t – o u t s i de, u n der a p ot of p etu nia s ha n g i n g f r o m a la m p p o s t . W e sat d own, and im m edi a t ely I f elt a c o ld wet ness soaking thr o u g h t he s ea t o f m y p a n t s . Th en someth ing equ a lly c o ld a n d wet dr i p p ed onto my h ead . A p p a r en t ly t he p et u n i a s ha d been rec ently w a t er ed.


M r s . Le be au di dn’ t no ti ce m y d isc omf ort. S h e wa s s cr ut i ni zi ng he r me nu so c losely th at h e r n o s e ne ar l y to uche d i t . Wh en th e waiter ca m e , s h e o r de r e d a gr e e n su mmer salad with l ig h t F r ench o ni o n dr e s s i ng and no olives and a s l ice o f appl e pi e and a gl ass of su gar-f ree cr a n b e r ry j ui ce . The w ai t e r inf ormed h er th at, un fo r t unate l y , the y di d no t have su gar-f ree cr a n b e r ry j ui ce . No ne at al l ? In th at c ase sh e w o u l d h a ve s ugar l e s s gr e e n tea. I ord ered lasa gn a a n d a Spr i t e . T h e wa it e r de par t e d, and M rs. Lebeau sp ent t h e n e x t mi nut e st udy i ng my f ac e f rom u nd er n e a t h h er pr o di gi o us hat . I was not su re wh ere t o l o o k , so I co nce ntr at e d o n h er f oreh ead . E v en t ua ll y she ask e d w he t her I was exc ited t o s t a r t scho o l . I ans w e r e d th at yes, I was. I m ea n t it. The tho ught o f l i ving in a c ity by th e o ce a n a ft e r a l i fe t i me o f subu rbia on th e p lains w a s t h r ill i ng. M y bags had b een p ac ked f or a w ee k e v e n tho ugh i t w o ul d be anoth er nine t e en d a y s be fo r e I l e ft ho me . “ Y o u k n ow ,” s he sai d, “ i t’ s g oing to be rath er l o n e l y h er e w i t ho ut y o u.” I t h a n k e d he r ve r y much. “ No t a t a l l ,” she chi r pe d. T h e c orners of h er m o u t h d r o o pe d. I po i nte d o ut th at my siblings

wou ld still be h om e. Mrs. Lebeau sh oo k her hea d a n d r ep li ed, “ Y es , bu t you are th e eldes t . T he c r ea m o f t he c r o p .” Th en sh e lau nc h ed i n t o a des c r i p t i o n o f ho w many c h ild ren she wo u ld ha ve li ked t o ha ve h ad , and wh at th ei r n a m es wo u ld ha ve been , and h ow sh e would ha ve t r i ed her u t m o s t n o t to p ic k f avorites, “ a lt ho u g h i t do es o c c a s i o n ally h ap p en even wi t h t he bes t o f p a r en t s .” Only wh en th e wa i t er br o u g ht o u r f o o d di d her monologu e end . W e a t e i n s i len c e. Mr s . Lebea u d id not believe in t a lki n g du r i n g m ea ls . F o o d was not an ac c es s o r y , bu t a n a r t , a n d bes i des , th e risk of c h okin g wa s ju s t t o o hi g h. Af ter lu nc h , we wa lked ha lf a blo c k t o her c a r and d rove to th e F i ve S t a r C i n em a . Mr s . Le beau insisted on bu y i n g m e a la r g e p o p c o r n , bu t wou ld h ave n o n e her s elf . H er di et wo u ldn ’t p ermit it. Plaqu e bu i ld- u p o n t he a r t er y wa lls , you know. It start s t o m a t t er s o m u c h m o r e wh en you ’re middle- a g ed. “ Do n ’t g r o w o ld, Ab igail. It’s not wo r t h t he t r o u ble,” s he a dvi s ed me. In th e th eate r , I s a ved her a s ea t whi le s he tou c h ed u p h er r o u g e i n t he ba t hr o o m . Und er any oth er c i r c u m s t a n c es , t he m o vi e wou ld h ave been ex c ellen t . I t p o r t r a y ed t he resid ents of a so o n - t o -be g ho s t t o wn a s t hey 54


s t r u ggl e d t o ho l d the i r so ci e ty togeth er af ter t h e C a l ifo r ni a go l d r us h. W i th in th e f irst f ive m in ut e s , I w as abs o l ute l y smitten with th e t r a g ic pr o tago ni st . I gl ance d at Mrs. Lebeau .

c oming along, wou ld y o u ?”

S h e a ppe ar e d to be e nj o yi ng h im ju st as mu c h as I was.

It was a lingerie b o u t i qu e. S m a ll c o wbells tinkled as th e d oor s wu n g s hu t behi n d u s . W e mad e ou r way to t he c o u n t er p a s t r o ws u p o n rows of c u rvac eous du m m i es i n la c e. “ Go o d af ternoon, Lou ise ,” qu a ver ed t he s p i n dly p r o p rietress. “H ow a r e y o u ? An d who i s y o u r f riend ?”

S u dde n l y T r agi c P r o tago ni st was in th e d ep th s o f d e s pa ir . W hi ch me ant t hat th ere was a girl in b ed wi t h hi m. W hi ch me ant th at h is sh irt w a s co m ing o ff. I d id n ’ t d ar e l o o k at M r s . Le beau . I d id n’t d are l o o k a t t h e s cr e e n e i t he r . Instead I looked at m y p o pco r n and pr aye d fo r a n asteroid to h it t h e t h e a te r . “ T h a t was an i nt e r e st i ng mo vie,” remarked M r s . Le b e au o nce w e w e r e saf ely in th e c ar a g a in . I w ant e d t o di e .

“No,” I told h er, wo n der i n g wha t T he F em i n i n e Mystiqu e was.

“It’s so good to se e y o u Pa u la . T hi s i s Abi g a i l. We ju st watc h ed the s t ea m i es t m o vi e.” “Wh ic h one, Gold R u s h? My da u g ht er s a i d

“ W e jus t w atche d the s t ea m i e s t m ovie .”

W h e n w e w e r e hal fw ay ho me, Mrs. Lebeau ga s pe d a nd made a s har p r i ght tu rn, nearly pl o w in g u s i nt o o ne o f the neat ranc h -style h o us es t hat l i ne d the st r e e t. A p assing jogger y el pe d a nd j abbe d hi s mi ddl e f inger in ou r d i r e c t io n . “I’ m so so r r y, de ar ,” Mrs. Lebeau said t o m e a s the j o gge r scr e ame d invec tives at u s, “ b u t I fo r go t that I have an a p p ointment in ten m in ut e s a t T he F e mi ni ne M y stiqu e. If I c h ange it n o w , t he y ’l l char ge me . Y o u wou ld n’t mind 55

it was good . I’ve been wa n t i n g t o s ee i t f o r ages.” Pau la winked a t m e. “ T he u s u a l s t y le?” sh e asked Mrs. Lebea u . “Yes, p lease.” Pau la d irec ted u s t o R a c k 4 a n d i n s t r u c t ed Mrs. Lebeau to h o ller when s he wa s r ea dy t o be f itted . I exp ec ted R ac k 4 t o c o n t a i n do wdy u n der wea r


fo r t h e mi ddl e -age d, but i t did not. Nu mb, I wa t c h ed M r s . Le be au e xami ne c one bras, nextt o - n o t h ing br as , s e qui ne d bras, ameth ysts t udde d br as. “ Do y o u ne e d a nyth ing, Abi g a il ?” s he i nqui r e d. “ N o ! ” T h e n, r e me mbe r i ng my manners, I h ast il y a d de d , “ But t hank yo u.” “ Ar e y o u sur e ? Y o u must be , wh at, a 34 B?” S h e h e l d up a scar l e t br a and matc h ing th ong fo r m e t o s e e . “ T hi s co l o r suits you , d on’t you t h in k ? Or y o ur s i s t e r , pe r hap s?” “ N o . P l eas e , no , I’m r e al l y all set,” I p lead ed .

Mrs. Lebeau was s t a r i n g a t t he da s hbo a r d a n d d ru mming h er f in g er n a i ls a g a i n s t t he s t eer i n g wh eel. “Did you like my c ho i c es ?” s he a s ked s u dden ly . “H u h ?” It took m e a m o m en t bef o r e I r ea li z ed th at sh e was talk i n g a bo u t t he br a s . “ O h. Y ea h, I gu ess.” Sh e d id n’t seem c o n vi n c ed. S ever a l s ec o n ds p assed . Th e ligh t c ha n g ed, a n d a s t he t r a f f i c began to move ag a i n , s he s p o ke. “ D o y o u kn o w h ow many misc arr i a g es I ’ve ha d?”

“ W el l , a l l r i ght, i f yo u’ r e qui te c ertain…”

Th is qu estion c au g ht m e t o t a lly o f f - g u a r d. I said noth ing.

I n t h e e nd, M r s . Le be au cho se a z ebra-p at t er n e d b r a and a l acy bl ack one. I c ou ld h ear h er a n d Paul a tal k i ng and l augh ing in th e

“Eigh t. I’ve h ad e i g ht . T hr ee li t t le bo y s and f ou r little gir ls a n d o n e u n det er m i n ed. My h u sband gave u p ho p e y ea r s a g o . I s t i ll

c h a n gin g r o o m. I de ci de d tha t wh en I got h o m e , I wo ul d w ash my e ye s ou t with Lysol.

h aven’t, th ou gh . I ’m n o t y et m en o p a u s a l. Th ere’s still time .”

T h e w o m e n e me r ge d fr o m th e c h anging room a n d we n t t o t he co unte r , w here Mrs. Lebeau p a id a n d pr o mi se d to co me again f or th e win t er s a l e. The n s he and I he aded bac k to h er c a r . I b a r e l y r e gi s t e r e d he r c h atter. Bu t I d id n o t ice w h e n s he st o ppe d s pe aking. We were s t uck a t a r e d l i ght t hat s e e med to h ave a mor a l im p e r a ti ve agai ns t t ur ni ng green.

Sh e d rop p ed me o f f a t m y ho u s e, a n d I s hu t myself in my roo m a n d p la y ed m y c ello f o r th e rest of th e d a y . An d ever y t i m e I r et u r n ed h ome f rom c olleg e, I m a de s u r e t o vi s i t Mr s . Lebeau .

EN D 56


P at te rned Jewish Silks on Silent Greek Manne qu i n s R u th Portes

T im e do e s n ’ t p r e s e r ve much. “Lost,” is wh a t I say aft e r “ I’ m o nl y bec oming more” a n d I did n’t k no w the w o man wh ose wed d ing th is was fo r . W h o w o r e that r i ng, w h o o w ne d that Si ddur … Pau se. M y h ee l s cr ack agai ns t t he mu te wood en f loors t h a t s t a r e w i th e mpt y e ye s beh ind glass mu seu m do o r s . S m uggl e d ar ti fact s, froz en; a n a t t empt to co nse r ve the past t w en t y t hr e e hundr e d y ea r s .

bef ore th en, they wer e O t t o m a n s a n d Gr eeks Th e old est Jews , R o m a n i o t s , ha d no need to d efen d t hei r beli ef s . Th en Sp anish J ews c a m e t o c ha n t t hei r c ha n t s th at I still sing — a g ho s t da n c e now, sinc e non e a r e lef t . Th ey lived wel l, n o n e o p p r es s ed Sinc e th ey wer e p eo p le t o o . Bu t war c ame wi t h t he n ew to kill 81 p erc en t o f Gr eek J ews

A r e c o r d e d vi o l i n e cho e s throu gh t h e t in y r o o ms ho no r i ng e igh t y t ho usand J e ws . A h is t o r y to o har s h t o r e me mber.

And now th ere a r en ’t a n y lef t .

Well,

57


T he F i r s t Ti me M ar y Kat e T u rner

O u t s ide t he w i ndo w , s no w fl a kes are f alling. W in d b l o w s the m up agai nst th e glass. Th ey a r e n o t al l uni que , cr ys t al l i zed sh ap es like we w er e a l l taught t he y w o ul d be. Every snowf lake is d iffer e nt my ass . The y’r e ju st little c h u nks o f h a l f- f r o ze n w ate r t hat fall like slu sh wh en t h e s k y is fe e l i ng par ti cul ar ly p issy. “ S a w y e r, te l l me abo ut co l l ege. You went away t o s ch o o l , di dn’t yo u?” I l o o k a t he r . Eve r yt hi ng abou t h er is so ste r e o t y pic al . The hal f-mo o n g lasses resting on t h e cr o o k o f he r no se , the pea-green skirt su it a n d n u de st o ck i ngs, the y e l low legal p ad and b l a ck fount ai n pe n that fur iou sly sc ribbles s o m e t h ing e ve r y ti me I mo v e an inc h . Every t h in g a bo ut t hi s day i s st e r eotyp ic al. Cou rtm a n da t ed the r apy se ss i o ns – give me a break. M y l ife i s no t s o me day t i me soap op era. S h e r a ise s he r e y e br o w s at m e. I nod . “All th e w a y t o Mass achuse tt s.” “ W h a t w as that l i k e ? Be i ng away f rom h ome?”

How th is all rela t es t o m y dr i n ki n g , I ha ve n o c lu e. I look bac k a t t he wi n do w. T he wi n d i s p ic king u p , and t he s n o w i s beg i n n i n g t o f a ll more h eavily. “You know I’d never s een s n o w bef o r e?” I s a y su d d enly, still g a z i n g a t t he s t o r m br ewi n g ou tsid e. So starkly di f f er en t f r o m t he c o z y o f f ic e th is sh rink – I m a ke a m en t a l n o t e t o t r y and learn h er na m e – ha s s et u p i n her e. S he’s got h ot c oc oa, so o t hi n g p i a n o m u s i c p la y i n g sof tly f rom a ste r eo i n t he c o r n er , a n d a c o u p le of logs c rac kling i n t he f i r ep la c e. C li c hé a s h ell. All th at sep arate s u s f r o m t he bli s t er i n g bla s t s of ic e and snow o u t s i de i s a s heet o f g la s s . Ju st a f eeble, f ra g i le li t t le wi n do w. I remember h ow m u c h I u s ed t o ha t e i t when my roommate Ja c k wo u ld lea ve t he wi n do w op en d u ring th e wi n t er . I remember h ow Devi n , m y n ei g hbo r , u s ed t o love to keep all t he wi n do ws o p en . S he wo u ld ju st waltz into m y r o o m , s a y I n eeded s o m e f resh air in h ere , a n d o p en i t r i g ht u p . Sh e was always t her e, a lwa y s t a ki n g c a r e o f me. Sh e u sed to be li ke a n a n g el. Th e sh rink is aski n g m e i f I r em em ber t he f i r s t 58


t im e. “ T he fi r s t t i me I w hat ?”

to my p h one.

“ T h e fir st ti me yo u s aw s no w, Sawyer.”

Th e f irst two mes s a g es a s ked i f I wa s a wa ke yet and told me to lo o k o u t s i de; t hen a n ho u r later wh en I h ad n’t r es p o n ded, s he ha d t o ld me to WAK E UP YO U LAZY F U C K , I T ’S S N O W ING. Absolu tely n o f i lt er – I lo ved t ha t .

I n o d. I r e m e m be r pe e l i ng my e ye s op en one h u ngov er S a t u r day mo r ni ng i n l at e N ovember, sh iver in g even mo r e t han usual . I p eered ac ross th e r o o m a t Jack ’s be d to se e tha t h e h ad alread y l eft t h e ro o m fo r the day, fumbled f or my iP h o n e t h at w as l o dge d be neath my p illow, and c l ick e d it o n t o fi nd t hr e e missed iMessages fr o m D e vi n. It w as 1 :3 7 p.m.; no d ou bt sh e’d a l r e a dy s e nt l as t ni ght ’s mi stake h ome – p rob a b l y s o me tal l , bui l t, fr at e r nity broth er – and t r a n s fo r m e d back i nto he r normal d aytime s e l f. S h ow e r e d o ff t he di r t and sweat and beer fr o m wh at e ve r gr ubby F r i day nigh t f rat p arty s h e a n d h e r tr as hy r o o mmate h ad grac ed with t h eir pr e se nce . My m is t a k e s o f the pr e vi o us nigh t, on th e oth er h a n d, co nsi s t e d o f a bo ne -d ry f if th of Tan q ue r a y and a hal f e mpt y pack of Marlboros, s it t in g o n my be ds i de tabl e with th at single, u n o pe n ed Tr o j an M A G NUM I’d swip ed f rom J a ck ’ s de sk i n an i ne br i at e d moment of op ti m is m . A ll o f t he m w e r e s e nd ing ju d ging looks m y w a y as I l ay the r e , st i l l ha lf asleep mid -af t er n o o n , gr o ggi l y punchi ng i n th e p assc od e 59

I remember sp rin g i n g o u t o f bed a n d da r t i n g over to th e wind o w, a n d s u r e en o u g h, ever y visible su rf ac e wa s c o ver ed i n a bla n ket o f f lu f f y wh ite. Small f la kes s p r i n kled f r o m t he sky. College f reshm en wer e r u n n i n g a r o u n d th e qu ad , lau gh in g , p la y i n g , f o r g et t i n g t hei r d ru nken regrets f r o m t he n i g ht bef o r e a n d r e verting to an anc i en t , c hi ldli ke s t a t e.

do y o u wa nt t o b uild a s n o wma a a n? I remember rep lyi n g a s i m p le H O LY S H I T a n d h earing a knoc k o n m y do o r a bo u t t wo a n d a h alf minu tes later . I remember h eari n g t ha t vo i c e t ha t s o u n d ed like bells singi n g d o yo u wa nt t o bu i l d a snow ma a a n? as she let her s elf i n . I r em em ber tu rning arou nd an d beho ldi n g t hi s a do r a ble c reatu re bef ore m e, ea r m u f f s , m i t t en s , a n d yellow ru bber boot s o n .


“ Mo r n ing, De v,” I gr e e t e d her. “ B r u s h yo ur t e e th, gr ab y o ur c oat, let’s go! Y o u’r e go i ng t o have yo ur fi rst snowball f igh t.”

I remember f eeli n g t he m elt i n g s n o w dr i p p i n g d own my f ac e, a n d I r em em ber s eei n g i t s t a n d ou t against h er r ed ha i r a n d o n her ey ela s hes . I remember notic i n g t ha t her ey eli n er wa s a

Appr o x imate l y e i ght mi nutes later, I remem b e r s t eppi ng o ut o f t he do r m itory and f eeling t h e c r u nch o f the sno w under my brand new b o o t s fo r t he fi r st t i me . A s it f ell, it melted on m y fa c e and i n my hai r . I r emember robotic al l y o p e n ing my mo ut h and t i lting my h ead u p wa r d s , and I r e me mbe r t he f irst time a snow fl a k e l a nde d o n my to ngue .

bit smu d ged , but s t i ll I g a z ed a t her , wo n der stru c k, as sh e sto o d u p a n d br u s hed t he s n o w of f of h er c oat an d jea n s .

An d I r e me mbe r that i cy bl ast th at h it me u p s id e t h e he ad, and I r e me mber swirling arou nd a n d s e ei ng De vi n, ano t he r s nowball in h and r ea d y t o fi r e at me .

“Oh . I d on’t kno w, ” I s t u t t er , “ a bo u t s even years, maybe?” Seven y ea r s .

“ I w a r n e d y o u!” she sho ut e d , f lash ing a tooth y s m il e a nd squi nti ng i n t he fa c e of th e su n th at wa s b e g i nni ng to pe e k thr o ugh th e c lou d s. I y el l e d and l unge d t o w ar d h er, ru nning t h r o u gh the sno w bal l t hat h it me squ are in th e c h es t a nd be ndi ng do w n t o grab h er and th row h er o v e r my sho ul de r . S a wy er , put me do w n!” I st i ll remember th e s o un d o f he r gi ggl i ng my name th rou gh h er s q u e a l s . I s pun he r ar o und a nd arou nd and p l o ppe d us bo t h do w n i nt o a p ile of snow.

“And h ow long a g o wa s t ha t , S a wy er ?” t he sh rink asks. I h ad n’t realiz ed I wa s r em em ber i n g t hi s a ll ou t lou d .

Seven years, and ever y t i m e i t s n o ws , I s t i ll r e member Devin a n d t he f i r s t t i m e I f ell i n lo ve. Af ter th at d ay, t he s n o w f ell a lm o s t c o n s t a n t ly f or several weeks ever y wi n t er , bu t I do n ’t r e member anyth in g li ke t ha t f i r s t t i m e. I r em em ber th at f eeling o f i n n o c en c e t ha t r et u r n ed t o u s brief ly as we p la y ed li ke c hi ldr en . Days like th at wer e f i lled wi t h Devi n . S he wa s my best f riend . She wa s t he m o r n i n g s n o w t ha t stu c k to my boot s a n d t he a f t er n o o n s u n t ha t broke th rou gh the c lo u d c o ver a n d r ef lec t ed against th e ic e a n d br i g ht en ed t he who le c a m p u s. 60


N igh t s , t he y w e r e fi l l e d w i t h alc oh ol and s m o k e. H e r s w e r e fi l l e d w i t h p ac ked , sweaty h o u s e p ar t i e s , w hi l e e mpt y bars and emp ty b o t t l e s be came the no r m fo r me. Sh e took h its fr o m fa ncy bo ngs w i t h be autif u l p eop le, and I p uffe d on a ne ve r -e ndi ng tr ail of c igarettes in s o l it u de . I r e m e m be r st umbl i ng ho me f rom th e p u b l a t e r t h at ni ght . I r e me mbe r wanting to sit. I r em em be r be i ng shak e n aw a ke wh at f elt like s e c o n d s l ate r , l o o k i ng up, and seeing a d ru nk en a n ge l i n gr ubby , s t i ck y boots. “ S a wy er , w hat the he l l ?” She h eld my f ac e in h er h a n ds and l o o k e d i nt o my d roop ing eyes. “ Ge t up, co me o n, w e ’ r e go i ng h ome.” I re m e m b er he r fi nge r s w r appi ng th emselves a r o un d mi ne . W e s t umbl e d ho me i n a cl um sy silenc e, inter r u pt e d onl y by the so und o f h er sh ivers and m y de v e l o pi ng smo k e r ’s co u gh . T h e n I was o n my be d, and someone was u n t y in g a nd t uggi ng at my shoes. I remember a t h u d a n d s e e i ng he r o n the g rou nd , boot in h a n d. “ W h y d o y o u t i e the s e … so damn tigh t?” sh e s l ur r e d . 61

Sh e took of f th e o t her bo o t a n d t hen c r a wled to th e h ead of th e bed a n d ha n ded m e a c u p o f water f rom my b eds i de t a ble. “Drink water. Yo u ’ll f eel bet t er i n t he m o r n ing. Please.” I remember h er g en t ly p la c i n g t he c u p i n t o my h and s, and I r em em ber t a ki n g a hu g e g u lp , and th en – teasin g ly – s p r a y i n g i t i n t o her f ac e, lau gh ing. I do n ’t kn o w why I t ho u g h t ha t was a c u te th ing t o do . B u t s he s hr i eked a n d sh e lau gh ed , sei z i n g t he c u p f r o m m y ha n ds and sp lash ing it a ll o ver m e. I s t o le a n o t her sip and th en gra bbed her a n d p i n n ed her do wn on th e bed , h ove r i n g o ver her , m o u t h f u ll o f water, read y to f i r e. “Sawyer, no! ” she s qu ea led, s t i ll la u g hi n g , squ irming, eyes s qu eez ed s hu t , wa i t i n g f o r m e to sp it. Instead , I gu lp ed do wn t he wa t er , ben t do wn , and kissed h er. “Th at was th e sm o o t hes t t hi n g I ’ve ever do n e,” I say smu gly. “You were waste d, S a wy er ,” s he r em i n ds m e. I sh if t in my sea t . “ W ha t ever ha p p en ed wi t h h er, Sawyer? Wh a t ha p p en ed t o Devi n ?”


“ I fu ck e d he r .” H e r e y e br o w s r i se . “ But w hat h ap p ened af ter? D id t h e tw o o f yo u date ?”

none of it matte r s a n y wa y . “ La s t I hea r d, t hey were engaged ,” I s a y . “I’m sorry th at ha p p en ed, S a wy er . ”

I l o o k o u t t he w i ndo w agai n. Th e snow h as s t o ppe d fal l i ng.

“Yeah .” I c an’t lo o k her i n t he ey e, s o I ju s t c ontinu e to watc h t he s n o w.

“ N o .”

“Sometimes p eop le br ea k o u r hea r t s , bu t we h ave to learn h ow t o g r o w f r o m i t . W e ha ve t o move f orward .”

“ W h y n ot? Y o u t w o w e r e so c lose.” “ S h e j us t di dn’ t w ant t o .” “ N o w, I ’m s ur e that’ s no t t r ue.” Her voic e d r ip s w it h fo r ce d s ympathy . “Wh at makes you s a y t h a t? ” “ S h e ’ s t h e o ne w ho s ai d i t .” I f eel my voic e b e in g t o r i s e . “ Sai d s he di dn’t want to. Did n’t wa n t a r e l ati o nshi p, di dn’t want any of it. And y o u k n ow w hat s he di d? She went and got h er s e l f a b oy fr i e nd. Tw o w e e k s later.” S h e n o ds and bl i nk s o ne o f th ose long, d rawn o u t b l ink s that ar e me ant to sh ow some kind of u n de r s t andi ng. “ S h e t h o ught w e w e r e s t i l l going to be best fr ie n d s aft e r that. Tr i e d to g et me to meet h im . T o ld me he w as a gr e at gu y, I’d really like h im . ” I no t i ce my fi s t s ar e clenc h ed and f orc e m y s e l f t o br e at he . Inhal e , e x h ale;

I lau gh . “Lad y, lo o k, i t ’s been s even y ea r s . Y o u th ink I’m not ov er t ha t bi t c h?” “Sawyer, p lease, t her e’s n o n eed t o r a i s e y o u r voic e.” I op en my mou t h t o t a lk ba c k, t o t ell her I ’ll raise my f u c king vo i c e i f I f u c ki n g wa n t t o , t o say th at it’s c om p let e a n d u t t er bu lls hi t t ha t I’m even h ere, t ha t s he a n d I bo t h kn o w t hi s i s a waste of time. Bu t instead , I si t a n d let her r a m ble o n a bo u t f orgiving and f o r g et t i n g a n d m o vi n g o n a n d letting go and no t u s i n g a lc o ho l a s a n es c a p e and every oth er lo a d o f c r a p s he’s g o t t u c ked u p th at p ea-gree n s leeve. I n o d a lo n g , g r u n t i n g and agreeing rob o t i c a lly u n t i l t he s es s i o n i s f inally over.

62


S h e s t a n d s up and o pe ns he r arms, exp ec ting m e t o h ug he r . I s t i ck my ar m ou t and of f er h er a h a n d s h ak e , the n I bo l t o ut of th ere. I d o n ’ t k no w w ho t ho ught i t was a good id ea to put a b a r ar o und t he co r ne r f rom a reh ab c en t e r , b u t what e ve r i di o t i t w as I’d su re like to b u y a dr i nk . I s it do w n at the co unt e r , and a woman bar t e n d e r w it h a l o w -cut tank t op and a blond po n y t a il o n to p o f he r he ad a p p roac h es me. “ T a n q u e ray and t o ni c. W i t h a lime, th anks.” If it wa s y e st e r day , I may have tried talking to h e r , m a y be ask e d fo r he r number. Bu t tod ay, I jus t t e l l he r , “ y o u k no w w ha t, make it a d ou b l e.”

END

63


Th e Fear in You r Blood K at Lewis Ta s t e t h e fea r in yo ur bl o o d. F i nd i t stale. Che w y o u r c u t ic l es r aw w hi l e he che w s h is f ood . Loo k at y o ur p l a t e – gl o bs o f w hi te a n d d ri bb l in g b r o w n – r e gr e t l ett i n g h im o r d e r fo r y o u. Sm i le w h e n h e s t ro k e s y o ur hand. Do i t b e ca u s e y o u w ant to – no t be cau se you h ave to. Let t w o y ea r s p a s t w i th l i t tl e e ffo r t. Crin g e a t h is t o u ch. Ro l l yo ur e y e s be fore eac h kiss. La u g h o n c u e . F e el the shi ne i n yo ur gaz e. Let it d ie. Gr ow t i r e d o f ge t ti ng the che ck , dwi n d li ng n u m b e rs i n bank acco unt s, a n d t he t h r ee w o r d s y o u s ay mo r e than you breath e: “ Ge t a j o b . ” Let t hi g h s s t ick t o sho w e r fl o o r s. Prun e s k in in t e p i d w at e r . F l i nch a t h i s kno ck s o n t h e bat hr o o m do o r . Only mo v e wh e n t he w ate r i s as co l d a s w hat ’s b en e a t h y o ur s k i n.

Watc h d ays blu r f rom y o u r ki t c hen t a ble. Stare p ast u ntou c h ed p la t es a t hi m . T r a c e t he m o vem en t s of h is mou th with you r g a z e. W o n der wh at it was like to love t he c u r ve o f hi s s m i le. H ea r n o t hi n g – only th e wall c loc k sin g i n g y o u a s er m o n of wasted time. Blink. D i d t he do o r s hu t ? Look at th e loc k as it tu r n s . Li s t en ha r d f or h is f ootstep s in th e dr i vewa y bu t h ear th e wh eez e of you r br ea t h i n s t ea d. Glare at h is emp ty c h ai r a n d i t s r i s i n g c u s hi o n . Feel h is last word s to y o u , “Path etic ,” like a h and p rint on your c heek.

64


Little Astronau t Lau ra Grau The po t ho l e de e pe ns—slowing d own bu ses p assing th e sc h o o l, I do n’ t l e t my so n c ross th e street alone. He is nine. H e in n i n e and he has se e n t he world beyond th e street c orner wh ere h i s f r i en ds g a t her , pl ay so cce r , pl o t t heir p lans of attac k against d isinterested s c ho o l t ea c her s — He k no w s he must learn—h e c ries bec au se a Colombian h as n ever be e n o n the mo o n, th ou gh h is p assion f or sp ac e limits h im f r o m s eei n g That a Co l o mbi an has stood on Everest. It c ou ld be h im sta n di n g t her e, but t he po tho l e de ep ens and sometimes, wh en it rains— w hi ch i t do e s a l o t —ou r c ar c annot p ass and we p ass th e tim e i n f r o n t o f t he T V, Vi e w i ng the thi ngs h e sh ou ld h ave— If I co ul d. He ask s me w hy the streets h ave h oles, wh y no one stop s to help t he m a n o n a mo to r cy cl e w h o got h it by th e c ar, wh y th e wind ows ar e c lo s ed, w hy a ye l l o w fo g covers th e stars at nigh t. M e anw hi l e hi s fr i e nd s h ave lost th e soc c er ball th ey’ve kic ked o ver t he fe nce i nto the m ilitary station. H e d oes not h ave th e sa m e f a s c i n a t i o n fo r guns o r t ank s th at th e kid s in th e movies h ave—th e tank ha s been p a r ked acr o ss the st r e e t si nc e long bef ore h e was born. Instead , h e p o n der s A bo ut JF K’ s spe e ch —We Ch oose to Go to th e Moon and c ou n t s t he da y s Be fo r e t he ne xt r o c ket lau nc h es. I d on’t know if h e will eve r s ee o n e la u n c h l i ve — I w ant to gi ve my son th e c old embrac e of sp ac e— o r at l e as t t he t ho u gh t of a c h anc e bu t I mu st d rive over th e p o t ho le t o w o r k , and he must c ross th e street to sc h ool—and I, ou r dr ea m s G e t l o s t i n t he t r aff ic . 65


X avier K even Perez

H igh s cho o l w as w he r e I l e arned th at anyone ca n b e a te ache r , e ve n Ni ck y Mils, t h e b r o o f Chr i s t , w ho taught a c lass abou t e v a n g e l ist s l i k e “ F at he r ” Sa nc h ez , son o f N ick , w ho ’ d l e ad the Je t s to Canaan. Bu ll fig h t in g w as Var gas ’ t hi ng bec au se wh y teac h t h e S p a ni sh l anguage w he n you c an exp lain t h e S p a ni sh cul t ur e . ¿Dó nde qu ieres ir? O l é? O l d age to o k P apa G and broke h is m in d , se ni l i t y at w o r k , bu t c lass co n t in u e d, t al e s o f Babyl o n c onf u sed w it h t h os e o f Buffal o , hi s former h ome. A n d Mr . Sur o , fo r me r L ati n K ing w h o l e ft the st r e e ts be hi nd for c h emistry— a b a ck w ar ds Br e ak i ng Bad—and th ou gh t O.G.

p restige h ad levels , n i n e o f t hem , t he la s t of wh ic h was gaine d t hr o u g h levi t a t i o n . K u ll was old enou gh to t ea c h, bu t y o u n g en o u g h to th ink sh e knew wha t s t u den t s li ked, whi c h m ea n t remembering equ a t i o n s vi a s o n g , and sc reaming term s bec a u s e m o r e n o i s e equ a ls less old . To stop th e bu lli es , Pr ez R a z lo w annou nc ed th e sc h o o l i t s elf wa s g a y . “ Y o u r f r i en ds , you r p arents, teacher s , Y O U .” H e n ever s a i d h e’s also gay, th ou g h, f u n n i ly en o u g h. H igh sc h ool was wher e I lea r n ed t ha t a n y o n e c an be a teac h er, even m e.

66


STAFF AND EDITORS President: Rut h Por tes VP: An n ie Ch o L ayout : Hanna h I n gersoll S ecretar y : Evelyn Ho Blog Coo rd in ator: Lyd ia Youngm an Contest Co o rdi nator: K at Lewis

Ar t : Po e t r y :

Pro se :

Chai r:

Cha i rs:

Ch a i r:

G u l nar Tu l i

An n i e Ch o

K at i e R o b ins on

St af f :

K at h e ri n e Q ui n n

St a ff :

Anna S i l k

Sta ff :

K at Lewi s Keve n Pe rez

E l ena Hou s e Hay

L au ra Ewe n

An n a S i l k

Jo s h u a K at z

K at h l e e n Kuswo ro

Si Ye o n Le e De b b i e O u

67

Cand i ce G ard M ad el ei ne Wheel er Yu q i ng Z hu


Vi s i t o u r We b s ite at : h t tp://th oro ug h fa re. j o h n sh o p k in s. e d u /

“Blue Wi nd ow ” Florence M a

Profile for Thoroughfare Magazine

Thoroughfare spring 2015  

Thoroughfare spring 2015  

Advertisement