Anna was driving us to Wisconsin, and I was in the passenger seat, fussing with the white seam on my—on Anna’s—navy blue swing dress. I’d started borrowing her dresses and skirts after her eyes lit up at me the first time I tried one on as a joke. “That’s how it’s supposed to look!” she said, trying to convince me. “How it looks on you; it’s too long on me.” I felt like I was in drag, but something inside me bloomed. I felt pretty. For a woman whose mother had once reassured her daughter that she was not un-pretty, this was a big deal.
I’d always wanted professor Jake Ford, half of the couple we were driving to see in Wisconsin, to think I was pretty, even though my fond memories of him as my college writing mentor were perforated by flashes of him mingling with his attractive female students. One of them was Anna, who became my girlfriend a couple years after graduation. I never really got to know her during school—or anyone for that matter. I was shy. College hadn’t gone well for me, in terms of friends and lovers. I didn’t have more than a handful kind acquaintances all four and a half years on that mile-wide campus.
was a clique of lesbians at Cadieux College that made it seem like there were
only seven gay women in the whole school. I tried to befriend them but found
them to be, like so many unofficial social clubs on campus, too much like high
schoolers. It was like the kids who’d been punished all through junior high and
high school had finally gotten some sway and became the people who’d shoved
them into lockers as kids—only they didn’t shove. They just talked about you
behind your back and stared down those they deemed unworthy from far off in the
cafeteria or from where they sat on the damp grass in the quad. Anna wasn’t
part of the lesbian cadre, so until we’d re-met in Chicago, I wasn’t even sure
if she was interested in women.
Anna was rubbing her neck and rolling her head around to stretch it out. The car was too quiet, so I kept coming up with boring blurbs to fill the gaps: “It looks the exact same out here.” She didn’t respond. “I mean, it looks the same as when we were going to school.” Still quiet. “I guess it hasn’t been that long since we left, but it feels like an epoch.”
land flanking the highways really did look the same as I remembered: flat field
after field of corn and soy, unchanging, in thousands of rows that stood
starkly still on a windless day, almost indignant, proud of their stodgy
practicality. I used to drive that way to escape campus when I was too lonely
to handle another weekend of parties, the beating music and howling attendees
muffled by the white concrete-block walls of my dorm room. I’d spend the
weekend curled up on my mother’s couch, batting cats away from plates of snacks
that would pile up around me, waiting for an imaginary server to come clear
them away before ordering dessert.
wondered if I was different enough now and watched the land as it approached
and then blurred—if I would seem better than I used to be. I often found myself
in disbelief when I thought of my life objectively; there I was with the
untouchable Anna Marshfield. Me, mediocre Jess. I’m the one she wanted. Not
Jake Ford. Not anyone else in Chicago, where she’d moved a few months earlier
because she’d needed a change, a big one to shake her mind free of writer’s
looked at her hands tightly wrapped around the steering wheel and touched her
shoulder. I wondered if maybe she was worrying about her novel again, the one
contracted by Penguin a year earlier. She never had to get an MFA to achieve
this; she was just that good, that committed and determined. Plus, Jake had
connected her with his agent while we were still in college. She started as an
intern for his agency and slowly, surely built a relationship with them and
other publishers. She was great at networking. Meanwhile, I hadn’t written a
word in months.
okay?” I asked Anna. I rubbed her shoulder gently while she thought, until she
shrugged my hand away.
worried, I guess. You think this a mistake?” she asked.
turned to look at me for a moment before rifling around her huge purse for her
cigarettes. I didn’t like that she was worried. She was supposed to be the one
that was excited, and I was the one that was supposed to be fake-excited, but
she was not supposed to figure out that it was fake, and I was supposed to be
able to hide behind her real excitement.
I pressed her for an explanation, she said, “Well, it’s just … It’s a little
weird with Bea. With them being together.”
pressed on, worried now about what I didn’t know, which my whole life had felt
like a lot.
wasn’t creepy about it,” she said. “But I could tell, he—like, he was into me.”
She kept her eyes on the road.
contained my opinion, gave her the space to be honest. I always tried to handle
her delicately because I owed her my life as of late—a place to live and food
to eat and a shower to cry in. After my temp contract ended at a place where
all I did was enter numbers into a spreadsheet, I couldn’t find anything else,
not in time to pay my rent and student loans. So Anna had me move in. My mother
was aghast at the celerity of it, but I explained that this was typical for gay
women, or at least that’s what I’d read. We aren’t as afraid to commit to each
other, we aren’t as afraid of each other.
mean, okay. I like—liked him—okay?”
she said, as if it was any kind of consolation, as if I’d even asked. “But I
was a kid, and I was applying to MFA programs, and I just needed his help with
all that, and he listened to me, like he really listened. He’s a good person.”
didn’t get an MFA, deciding instead to take the agency internship, and she
definitely wasn’t just a kid then. But he was a good person, I guess. Jake
Ford, ambling about campus as the only very attractive male professor, towering
at six-foot-three, broad shouldered, a brooding and chiseled face, inviting
girl students to talk during office hours, flattering them with his attention,
making them feel smart (they were already—without him, before him). How helpful and, when he slid on his tortoise-shell
frames, well, how academically sexy. How sensitive and observant he must have
been, a man who wrote.
was nice. I would even have called
him kind. Maybe the way I saw him wasn’t fair. Maybe I was mixing up my
feelings about The Patriarchy with who he really was. He’d helped me turn
stories perilously close to melodrama into stories that mattered. And he took
interest in male students too sometimes. Never in my four years, even at the end
when we worked closely during my honors term on stories I hoped would finally
be good enough to get published, did I get a whiff of flirtation. No sidelong
glances, no corner smiles, no hugs held for a moment too long while departing.
He was not known as a predator, and I have never considered him one. But he is
a man, and he knew enough from my stories, and from my appearance (i.e.
oversized twelve-year-old boy) that I wasn’t a viable candidate. It was
relieving and comforting not to have to fend off his advances, but just as well
made me feel sorry for myself—because was I not a woman?
When I found out that Anna had made plans for us to see Jake and his wife (and former student), Bea Brannish, my stomach took no time at all to start up its usual bubbling, nervous protocol. I suddenly couldn’t remember a thing from college. Those four years of day naps and writing feverishly into the night and going to class stoned were a murky aquarium stored precariously on the edge of a crooked desk at the back of my brain. I became so worried about everything I’d forgotten, like I’d fail the Bea and Jake quiz, that I got my memento box from under Anna’s bed. It was the only box of mine in the whole apartment; the rest I’d sent back to my mother’s for storage.
next to the box on the hardwood floor, I opened the journal from my honors term
and poured over it.
There was an amazing fog tonight as I walked home from the store where I bag groceries on weekends. I stopped near the park across from campus to take in the spookiness of it all. The moon was full and bright. It was as if the clouds had given up and decided to rest on the earth. But when I looked down at my feet, there was no fog. It never looks as dense up close as it does from far off, but then you peer out at a couple of goons sucking face in the park and they’re practically bathing in it.
I didn’t mention their names—the goons—but I remembered. It was Bea and Jake. It must have been so unsettling that I couldn’t even admit in a private journal that I knew them. I recalled then the nightlong stomach ache from seeing them together, a result of jealousy mixed with extreme discomfort. She looked so small next to him. Part of me wanted to run to her, to ask if she was okay. And then have Jake try to kiss me too—and then get the chance to push him away.
The rest of the entry was about an honors term meeting, an intimate
workshop led by Jake.
Earlier, our group
met at Café Coffee. We waited for Anna to finish her shift, and I listened to
Bea and Jake flirt. She pulled a CD out of the old yellow sack she uses as a
purse and handed it to him. “Thanks, I loved it. You were right—it’s really
I had to stop myself
from rolling my eyes. They’ve been flirting all term. If they think none of us
Bea was wearing a
hippie skirt that billowed out down to her ankles and reeked of paisley and
unwashed hair. Her shirt was like a referee polo. The worst part of the whole
getup were her Harry Potter glasses—probably didn’t even have a prescription.
She wore no makeup except for two defined streaks of reddish-orange blush
across her super-white skin.
Then Anna strode over
to me while removing her apron, saying over her shoulder to Jake, “So sorry,
the person taking over my shift was late again.” She always talks to him like
that… I wish I could be his confidant too. But not really. Not if it means he
wants to suck my face or have me worship him like some ancient Grecian
intellectual. I’ve seen her sitting in his office so many times, always
laughing. What could possibly be so fucking funny?
Anna put my story on
the table and slid it to me with her finger. She said, “You almost have it with
this one.” I imagined grabbing her hand, holding it in mine. I glimpsed her
right thumb. It looked like a tiny hammer, like it had been taken off a less
attractive, less put-together person and sewn onto her as punishment for being
I blushed like I’d
just told her a secret, and said, “Well, wow, okay. Thanks, thank you?”
Her voice is tiny,
like a pre-teen, and maybe it’s weird for me to like that, but I do. It’s
comforting. Makes her approachable. So do her darling clothes. A vintage
seafoam green cardigan with a rounded white collar, paper rose brooch pinned to
it. Straight out of the fifties, down to her cropped ponte pants, sneakers
fashioned like saddle shoes.
I suppose it’s
charm—that effortlessness. The ability to make others comfortable by appearing
comfortable in your own skin. I wonder if that’s real. I wonder if she thinks
about me. I wonder how she has the money for such nice clothes.
On the back of my
story print-out, she wrote,
“Give this goose some
agency. Hasn’t she a spine—a little birdy, goosey spine?”
God, she’s cute. Too
cute? Yeah. Twee is the word, I think. I like it. I like her way too much.
My story is from the
point of view of an injured goose who’s unhappy with her forever mate.
Eventually she escapes him. But I guess she isn’t whole enough yet. I had to
look up agency. I always have to look up words that other people just know offhand.
Jake and Anna don’t
flirt. Anna’s way too fucking cool to let herself look like she needs his
attention, even though she gets a lot of it.
I know deep down that
I’m not as good as Anna and Bea. Jake’s critique on my back page is a yawn.
“Read Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies for example of narrative.” His notes
throughout were scant. One just a circle around the word instinctive with an
arrow pointing to his own handwriting: instinctual? He asked me about the word
choice at the cafe, and I turned bright red. Is there a fucking difference? At
least Anna gets it.
My deepest fear in
high school was that I liked both men and women, but now it’s that maybe I’m
not very good at writing, that these three pity me when I’m not around and talk
about how Jake let me into this honors term because I was a good student and
worked hard, not because my writing is spectacular.
It’s late. I’m not
going to bed. I’m going to eat this bag of Doritos until my fingers are
semi-permanently orange while watching Arrested Development. I’ll work on goose
agency and instinctualness tomorrow. I know that’s not a fucking word.
I shoved the journal back into the cardboard box, pushed the box back
under the bed.
I did not want to see Jake and Bea, but I wanted them to see me.
People like them weren’t supposed to make concrete plans. You were
supposed to write them a kind message in a mid-priced greeting card, one of those branches extended for nicety’s sake, to which the other
party would kindly respond that they’d love to have you anytime—with the
unspoken understanding that the offer would stand naked in dinner-party
purgatory for the rest of time. And you’d all be just fine with that.
We arrived in Cadieux. The familiar landscape off the exit ramp: a mile of fast food chains, gas stations, a Super Walmart and random open fields full of crabgrass, gravel and chunks of concrete. After the first main stoplight, it turned residential. The car grumbled over the train tracks (the one I could hear at night in my shitty dorm-room twin bed when I couldn’t sleep) and the GPS told us to turn left onto Woods Drive. Trees took over either side of the road, their leaves just starting to come in, pale green and blinking in the breeze as they opened their sleepy eyes to the new spring light. Wild yellow tulips and purple hyacinth crouched close to the earth, still wary of frost. My heart opened up. We were finally out of winter, and maybe this would be a nice time after all.
rolled down her window, barely, and lit a cigarette. The smoke stung my eyes,
so I rolled mine down all the way. I stuck my arm outside, fighting the wind
until I found a way to work with it, my hand slicing through and then arching
up and down, trying to make friends. I wished and wished for Anna to look at me
because it filled me up, made me forget how, before I literally ran into her
with an armful of chips and soda at a corner-store a few months ago, I almost
hadn’t made it through the year. She was all I needed. She was all I was.
drove up a hill to their modest house built of orangey brick and finished with
limestone around the front door. It was perched in the middle of a grassy
acreage with woods on one side and, on the other, green land that pitched down
and disappeared. The rise and movement of Jake and Bea’s land, along with the
arms of shade trees bobbing in the slight, crisp breeze, were welcome after the
long drive through flat land. Jealousy shot through me, remembering how much I
preferred woods to city.
saw Jake’s silhouette in the screen door as we walked up. A smaller silhouette
waddled up to his side and tugged at his pant leg until he hoisted it up,
holding it close.
he opened the door, his eyes landed on me first. He looked confused.
first words out his mouth were, “Wow. Jess? Wow, look at you.”
face bloomed with heat.
He decided on, “You look great. It’s so good to see you.”
We hugged. He was still tall, still broad. I was rich with flattery, but I was just as embarrassed. Why was he so surprised that I was attractive? And why did it feel so good to hear him say it, to see him realize it after all those years? And why did I wear a fucking dress? I yearned for a baggy t-shirt to tug at. Instead I stuffed my hands in the pockets of Anna’s dress.
turned to Anna and said, “I didn’t know you were bringing ol’ Jess!”
Jess. Like a trusty heifer who’s gone sterile with age and is to be shot dead,
broken down into reasonably sized parts and kept in a deep freezer in a
farmhouse crawl space.
he said, looking at his little girl. She was ruddy-faced and brown-haired with
dark almond eyes so big that they that seemed better suited for an adult. I had
no idea if that was a nickname or real, but I hoped for Biddle that it was the
is Anna. Do you remember Anna from the tablet?”
Biddle pursed her wet lips and sniffed a booger back up into one nostril. She was silent, refusing to make eye contact with us.
insisted again: “Anna. Remember? You talked to her. She showed you her fish
A fish named James lived in the bedroom we shared, on Anna’s nightstand. Most every night, she sprinkled food that smelled like a stagnant lake over his home and said, “Viva la fishy,” the way people say amen to end a prayer. I always thought this was darling, but now it felt like it’d always been an act, something you’d see at the closing of an episode of Mr. Rogers, to subliminally make the children watching sleepy.
tried to think of when this call (these calls?) could have happened and
wondered if my personal effects were out on display during it. Did he see my
dirty underwear, the bra I wear daily but wash only once a month, my journal,
some leftover floss snaking around my nightstand next to an empty can of beer?
He was practically in my bed. I knew sometimes they exchanged writing and
workshopped it together, or he gave her advice about handling her editor, but I
dumbly thought I was always around for these conversations, which I could
barely hear because she’d shut the bedroom door for privacy.
house was modest, the walls white and nearly bare, as if they’d just moved in.
Jake gave us a two-second tour by pointing down the middle of the home, saying,
“After the kitchen, bathroom on left, bedroom on right. Don’t look in the room.
I shoved everything we own there about fifteen minutes ago.”
sat us down on the couch in the living room, the largest and brightest room.
Anna was immensely quiet. I caught her eyeing things around the house while I
told Jake that I’d been working odd temp jobs that didn’t pay much, that Anna
was helping me get by.
surprises me to hear Anna’s been a good friend,” he said.
I had the dizzied feeling of a curious insect being shooed away by a giant
turned to her. “Did you ever finish that piece about the male babysitter and
the dancing cat?” he asked, bobbing the baby on his knee while she fussed. He
seemed comfortable enough holding her, but he wasn’t any good at it. Yellow
mucus kept leaking from her left nostril, and when she sniffed, up it went
before oozing back out.
caught Anna staring across the room at a mug rimmed with lipstick that said
Tiny Dancer in cursive on the dining table.
that’s the one getting published in Glimmer Train later in the year,” she said,
like it was nothing. My abdomen clenched with envy. I fingered the seam on
Anna’s dress and realized one end of the white thread on the hem had started to
unravel. I yanked, hoping to break it at the seam, but it only unraveled more,
so I tied it in a triple knot.
was so pleased with Anna’s news and, it seemed, so glad for her attention. He
didn’t ask me anything—a relief and a stab at once. Anna’s hand was in her
purse, thumbing the corner of her pack of Parliaments. She took a slow sip of
the water he poured into a long, narrow plastic cup that looked like the kind
of vase you get with a sad single rose when you’ve forgotten Mother’s Day and
nothing else is left at the grocery store floral department.
that a vase?” I asked, reaching for a joke.
front door swung open. There was Bea, hair frazzled, eyes wide, about to
speak—until she saw us. Her whole manner crumpled.
screeched, utterly relieved at the sight of Bea. The baby clapped her clumsy
hands as Jake held her out to her mama, who smiled and took her into her arms.
turned to us. “Girls,” she said, “what brings you here?”
looked to Jake. He never told his own wife we were coming? But Anna jumped on
here to see you guys and meet the baby and see the house!”
smiled, instantly switching her demeanor. I knew this Anna, who she changed
into in when the mood of a room needed its edges softened. Bea focused on
Biddle, bouncing her on her hip, and Anna shrunk back next to me on the couch.
She wasn’t used to being ignored.
looked at Jake: “Didn’t you see this?” She pointed at Biddle’s booger.
been occupied,” he said. I remembered the little red sign over the
bathroom-door handles on campus that switched from occupied to vacant when you
turned the lock.
looked too thin but hadn’t lost the natural blush in the skin wrapped tightly
over her high cheekbones. I don’t know that I ever saw her without loads of
experimental makeup dragged and dotted across her face. She was breathtaking.
Just like Anna.
worked at a boys private school up north, she told us, though I already knew.
Today the class discussed Lord of the Flies. Anna admitted she never read it,
to which Jake feigned horror.
to ya assmar!” I blurted. Silence. I blushed and held myself back from saying, It’s from the book, you ninnies!
turned back to Bea and asked if she wanted to bring in “that conch we have on
the dresser” for some show and tell.
handing off the shell, he took us around the grounds, pointing out trees. “This
is Honey Locust. Over there’s Red Oak. And Bur Oak,” he said, prideful,
introducing us to his other kids.
hid behind her big sunglasses with an Audrey Hepburn quality, something quietly
magnetic emanating from her smallness. Jake told us that Bea recently had a
story published in the Midwest Quarterly, that he had to push her to write and
submit it to journals.
thought he should probably let her decide whether or not to reveal such
has a hard time keeping up with that side of life now,” he said. “But I don’t
want her to give up. She’s too good.”
and I nodded, agreeing. Bea came into Cadieux with her own voice. Anna was
good—extremely good. But she didn’t take chances the way Bea did; her voice was
an echo of other voices. At that point, I was sure I’d never had a voice
either. I might as well have been mute.
trailed behind them a bit, taking in the green openness. The leaves decomposing
in the feathery grass, the smell of worms and dirt. I wished I was alone to
toddled about, balancing herself against Jake’s long legs. She was babbling and
gesturing toward where the land pitched down behind the house. He bent over,
trying to understand her as she pointed and mimicked his tone, trying to teach
he said, grasping for patience. “Go tell Mama what you want, okay?”
wanted to show us where he could find morel mushrooms in a narrow valley a few
hundred feet behind the house. “These chefs in Chicago will pay out their
assholes because you can’t farm them,” he said, turning to lead us away from
tugged at Anna’s pinky to tell her I needed to pee, that I’d meet them in a
minute—but she yanked her hand away from me, like I’d worked her patience down
to bare. Had I? My heart winced, realizing she hadn’t spoken to me directly
since we arrived.
the bathroom, I saw Bea rinsing dishes. I grabbed a towel from the fridge door
to dry them, and we talked about her upcoming summer break, how she’d go off
alone for two weeks to an artist colony to write and go for hikes along the
Smoky Mountains in Virginia.
said, “I love Jake and Biddle, but—”
steadied herself and waved her hand to say you
know what I mean, but I pretended not to know what she meant. She took a
deep breath and explained: “I am not a whole person right now.” And it was
exactly what I wanted her to admit. It felt like commiseration, so I nodded and
patted her shoulder while she wiped away a few tears and sniffed, and for some
reason I was welling up too, though I don’t think she noticed.
turned around, drying her hands in the damp towel.
see,” she said.
did you know you wanted Biddle?” I asked. The words just slipped right out.
didn’t. I woke up one day and realized my period was late three weeks and got a
test at the dollar store,” she said.
led the conversation into territory bordered on all sides by Serious Talks and
had no idea how to escape it, so Bea did it for us.
you been working on anything lately?”
told her I was out of work but looking, that I’d take pretty much anything.
Jess. I meant writing.”
nothing serious,” I admitted, trying to seem unfazed.
she paused, looking around. “Where is Biddle?”
told her Jake had sent her in just before me. She wasn’t in the house, not in
the kitchen cabinet under the sink, not even behind the shower curtain or
playing in the corner where her toys lay waiting for her, so we rushed outside,
calling. Maybe she’d found Jake and Anna in the valley with the morels. We made
a wide left turn, jogging. Bea’s wrinkled white shirt inched out of her loose
waistband, and I thought again about how she was too thin, her elbows coming to
points so sharp that a good blow from one could send a man reeling. She stopped
abruptly and I had to grab her shoulder—bones obvious under my palm—to stop
from running her over.
followed her line of sight until I saw it. Them. Jake and Anna in the last
moments of an embrace, way too close for just friends. She was looking up at
him like he was a knight saving her from certain fucking doom.
shouted hey! and they jumped two feet
apart. But Anna, swift to smooth over the awkwardness, held out one hand. In it
were some spongy morel mushrooms—a stupid, careless offering. Looked like a
pile of shit.
what we found!” she said, pretending herself into a smile way too generous for
wild funghi. A couple fell to the ground, and Jake bent to retrieve them.
is Biddle?” Bea shouted.
four of us jogged out of the valley, calling. I heard Bea and Jake off to my
right in a terse exchange:
thought you were watching her.”
sent her in to you.”
you happy now?” Bea asked with the tone of a knife on the downswing.
searched ahead of me. She wasn’t graceful but her movements were determined.
She hiked up her long skirt to hunch down and look under her car. No baby
there. I hurried around the perimeter of their shed, my feet crunching over
gravel. A frightened chipmunk scurried off into a hole in the siding.
when we heard an indiscernible shout borne of shock, possibly horror. It came
from the behind the house, off where the land sloped. We ran that way to see
Bea squatting a few feet from her baby, who was steps from the drop-off,
pointing at a yellow wildflower, babbling nonsense about “wowies,” rocking on
her feet, inching herself a little farther back, a little farther back. If Bea
lunged for her, there was a good chance the baby would lose her balance and
tumble backward, down and down, into whatever lay at the foot of that ridge.
was saying, “Come here, babe. Little Biddle. Come on, sweetie,” as she took one
crouching step at a time toward her. She was forcing a smile, a soft tone, a
slow pace, but under all that, escaping silently from her fingertips, was a
backdoor shreaked on its hinges. Jake held out a tablet, a game flashing colors
on the screen. Biddle clapped her hammy hands and ran up to him, waddling right
past her mom’s outstretched arms.
In the rusted silence of the car on the way home, I found a banged up, half-used planner in Anna’s backseat and took a pen from the middle console. I could feel her keeping watch and refused eye contact. For the first time in months, I felt a story unfolding above me, right over my head, the way it felt when I was really channelling something and it was unexplainable and exhilarating.
driving down the hill, away from the house, I’d sputtered, “Does he even know?”
She didn’t answer, which was answer enough. It unfolded quickly—the revelation
that I’d convinced myself Anna was my girlfriend. She was a lonely girl in an
unfamiliar city when we met, but then I appeared. Someone familiar she could
dump her feelings into, who wouldn’t expect much back because just getting
Anna’s attention was enough. She must have sensed that. All it took was a few
drinks on an empty stomach for Anna to let her guard down and let me in—inhale
me, really. She must have been so tired of pretending. She must have known—with
this trip, with that kiss in the woods—how to change everything without saying
it to my face. She was charming, yes, but a coward. A coward who wrote.
we get back I’ll make you the fancy tea you like, and we can just relax and
binge Designing Women, okay?” Anna said, her voice a cutesy question mark.
turned to her and said, “You can stop now.”
began writing in the calendar over the vacant month of December. I thought of
the valley. Them, together in the hazy green path, in an almost-embrace,
looking at each other like—like what? Lovers. Professor, published author, most
handsome, husband to Bea—he already had enough titles. Could I not be Anna’s
lover? She had to give him that too?
looked out at the fields to calm myself, but they irritated me. The same, the
same, the same. Flat. Green. Short. Tall. The land still whimpering, cowardly
from being crushed flat by glaciers eons ago. I wanted it to get over itself
and stand up. I was gritting my teeth. I thought of a hand full of shitty
mushrooms and wrote this:
I can feel the earth opening up around me, stone shafts shooting up into the sky, the houses and strip malls and the cutesy downtown crumbling, being eaten up by the great crevasse-mouths gaping, starved for epochs, until now. Instead of curling my fingers into a fist, I fling the back of my hand at his stupid pronounced jaw so hard and fast that the sound he makes reminds me of my family dog in the moment he was hit by an old lady in an ancient Oldsmobile, who had mistaken the gas pedal for the brake. He never saw it coming.
Anne Feher is a writer living in Chicago.