“Of Everything I Have Loved”
Personal memoir published in “Artemis” and “Port City Review".
“Hands in Pockets”
“What about your children?”
On days that my car slips onto the rumble strips, I think of the girl with a lipstick in every shade. I think of driving over a curb in the dark and of countless nights spent talking about our future husbands. We shared everything, and it’s strange to be hundreds of miles away from you and still feel your leg against mine on your parents’ porch swing. I was the first one to see you in your wedding dress, and I thought that I shouldn’t feel as sad as I did.
The first time I saw her with a cigarette, she was so far gone she could barely hold on to it. It kept slipping lazily backwards until someone finally took it out of her hand to keep her from burning herself. Her skin was so papery by that point, I imagined her whole body would instantly be engulfed in flame if the sagging embers reached the back of her hand.
She lived maybe a month after that; a month where the world was put on pause and everyone who knew Edie Mae Fath simply waited.
The first thing I thought about Paris, sometime after my arm was tingling from my over-stuffed bag cutting off all circulation, was that the Seine was small. I grew up on the Ohio River, and it defines a lot of my personal history and my city. So, when it came to a city as famous as Paris, with a river as definitive as the Seine, I was expecting it to be larger. Je suis américaine
My mom makes a particular face when she’s thinking. She narrows her eyes and juts her lower jaw to one side or the other and just leaves it there, with her mouth open, until she’s worked through the issue at hand. It’s a funny face. Especially since she’s composed entirely of right angles and sharp bones. As she’s gotten older, her skin has stretched thin over those bones, pulled downward by years of sunburnt beach volleyball and three sets of infant hands tearing away at her collagen. It’s a funny face.
Micro Fiction published in "Artemis," SCAD's undergraduate literary journal.
Lucas pulled the key out of the ignition. We sat in the car until the yellow cabin light flicked off. Now that it was dark, he sighed. I didn’t say anything to comfort him. At first, I was sad, too – shocked more than anything, when the police car pulled up to our house instead of our parents’ gray Volkswagen – but now all I felt was a sick sense of relief. I hated myself for it, for how little I felt, for how I couldn’t seem to see the world as different now that they were gone. But no matter how much I tried to rage like Lucas or cry like our aunts, there was only relief.
The sky had just changed from dusk to real darkness when we heard the familiar rumble. Dawson bolted out of the house as the car turned into our cul-de-sac, and threw himself onto the shitty hood of the shitty black Subaru. He landed with a crunch that made me wince, but rolled off without a dent to his gleeful expression. The car shuddered to a stop and its driver jumped out without turning the key.