My only hope is that you never have to come face to face with yourself like that. But the statistics show that one out of every four of you will succumb.
Me, I was a squirrel. I was small. But I was agile. I hustled from sun up until sundown at a frenetic pace. I always minded my own business and stuck to my own path.
Mouthguard licked his lips, sneered, and clapped once again as Nichols took a few dribbles backwards to give himself a runway to make his drive to the hoop. Not once did Nichols break eye contact. No.
As it happened: You were hired to attend to a dinner party held in a lakeside cabin on a foggy night. You arrived alone and were instructed to bring your own cleaning supplies. For this inconvenience, you will be reimbursed.
‘Two quarter-pounders, no patty,’ a small man behind the counter shouted. I almost let out a sigh of relief. Then, I remembered that one of the meatless burgers was mine and felt even more depressed.
She just wants a fresh start, and to come into herself in a way she hadn’t been able to with those who knew her as the sister of the dead girl, the dancer whose nudes got leaked…
You know, peace in this state is like weather. Really unpredictable.
“…Ever since you were a child, we tried to teach you the importance of studying hard so that you can get a good job. All for what? For nothing. You have ruined us. I hope you’re happy.”
I have been barred from my local nursery, even from looking at the cute little succulents that are supposed to require less maintenance. I had to create multiple fake Reddit usernames to post pictures of withering plants and find out what ailed them so no intrepid internet sleuth could pin the mass genocide of local fauna on one person.
Faiz and I broke up a week after my mother’s death. It wasn’t a painful conversation. It was what it was. I hadn’t loved him for a long time and I was too passive to break up with him, he said. I had become monosyllabic around him, hadn’t even bothered to invite him to my mother’s funeral. Yes, he used the word invite.
The third mother will be sent for by a man on the mainland who is seeking a wife. After she arrives, she will imagine getting into a bathtub and pulling a mattress over herself, and then she will do it. Two weeks before this, when she meets her smiling white in-laws for the first time, the sky will turn to bruised green, and they will usher her down into their basement.
I know you may not believe me, since I’ve already admitted to lying, but the very true kernel of this story is that my father has, or, before his death from prostate cancer, had, a collection of clown art.
Father Cleary was fully robed. He leant against the rear counter, facing the sacristy entrance with his arms folded across his chest, as if waiting for Benjie. Benjie knew he must have heard the sound. He averted his eyes and held the cracked chalice at his side, away from Father’s view.
Cat shit on the floor this morning. Mom stepped in it. Mom held Cat her by the neck, gripped the saggy skin meant for a mother’s mouth and ripped her off the couch. My stomach shattered as Cat screamed something low and feral, like the time a gopher got caught in Stranger’s lawn mower. The whole block heard; a patch of his grass was dead for weeks, stripped with ammonia. It took four boys to get out the blood.
I wonder if the stain judges me when I flop onto my drenched mattress and set my Tinder to everyone. I only swipe right on couples bold enough to look for a third, but shy enough to only post photos of their torsos, no heads. I swipe right on chests that remind me of Noah.
Mia didn’t recognize her own body. She only knew it was her own body because of the familiar abrasion. She identified this scraping as soul against skull. Mia believed in the soul since no one had ever told her otherwise.
I was born in Ridgeville, South Carolina, in the house that my mother was raised in, but there were never any pictures of her on the walls. Grandma took them all down when my mama walked out on us. Grandma said she burned them all too, but I don’t know if I believed that. She must have kept a picture of her only daughter. I never looked for it though.
The You men are for the end-end of a night, when B’s hand is between his legs. He stares at them and squeezes himself. He thinks about the You he can be with. He imagines himself on the You. He touches himself and imagines that the You is touching his body. He imagines his own hand is another hand. He feels himself become someone else, as if he is watching himself and the You enjoying each other.
Remember the way you’d tell the story differently every time, how you couldn’t remember the first thing he ever said to you, so you’d make it up. The easy version: he had you at hello. The soppy version: did he know you? He felt like he’d seen you before. Maybe in his dreams. The funny version: did it hurt, you know, when you fell from heaven?
There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
I miss a lot of things. I miss people as soon as I leave them. This happened today, when this friend of mine—the one with his head bent over his fourth taco—and I met for coffee, during which I found myself wanting to be alone.