The first winter I was in love it didn’t snow til late December. I was still figuring out how these things worked and sometimes I’d show up to his job when he had not asked me to come.
I had a friend who was adept at handling terrible situations. We’d sit for hours on the stack of Pepsi pallets in the stockroom, and he’d say things to me like, “You are not a snowflake or a desert flower. This is not the Princess and the Pea.”
It didn’t help that the first boy I had ever known had told me he’d been made bionically. He was dexterous and strong, prone to random fistfights—incapable, he said, of feeling any pain.
When he became a man, he did not deviate from this formula. I would say to him, “Curtis, do you ever cry?” and he’d respond by ordering a pizza and shooting out a streetlight.
It made me wonder if I could ever be a man, if I could call people mother fucker, learn to drive a backhoe, curse at hockey games—
if, in doing so, I might be better at the things that made me angry, less likely to worry when I inevitably started to bleed.
Sarah Carson was born and raised in Michigan but now lives in Chicago with her dog, Amos. She is also the author of three chapbooks, Before Onstar (Etched Press, 2010), Twenty-Two (Finishing Line Press, 2011), and When You Leave (H_NGM_N, 2012).4