Posts tagged "beginnings/endings"
Arkansas Chicken Apocalypse

Arkansas Chicken Apocalypse

I have been to the end of the world. I was fourteen on a fall morning, frost icing the dead grass in the yard, my feet cold on the tile. The phone rang from under dishes and papers on the kitchen table, and I let my mother get it. She answered, said okay, hung up....
Faithful

Faithful

Nobody can call in or out. Her father doesn’t want the ringing telephone to interrupt his wife’s dying, so the phone is turned off. When his daughters remind him that there are people waiting to hear, wanting to know, he roars, “She’s dying. They all know. When she’s dead, you can call them and tell...

Lag Time

It doesn’t thunderstorm in California. Not like those from my memory of home. I listen for them at night when the sky half-promises, but it rarely delivers the noise I need. This I know: If you count the time it takes between the flash of a Kansas lightning bolt and the crack before the roll...

The Back Stroke

I started upright, feet planted in the lake’s silt, bending my knees and inclining forward, but never losing touch with where I stood. Gradually I let go of the bottom and put my head in the water, face down, eyes closed, legs splayed out behind me like a flesh-colored overcoat—like a drowned person whose body...
The Hard Part of Community College

The Hard Part of Community College

He rarely did homework on time, but really, the assignments weren’t  that great—predictable questions about essays in the textbook, the usual  Becoming Someone or Discovering Your Voice. Still, he wrote beautifully. He always apologized for the state  of his papers, telling me first that time was tight and then that computer  access was limited and...

White Lies

Arpi, a Lebanese girl who pronounced ask as ax no matter how many times the teacher corrected her, must have been delighted by the arrival of Connie, the new girl in our fifth grade class. Connie was albino, exceptionally white even by the ultra-Caucasian standards of our southern suburb. Only her eyelids had color: mouse-nose...

Homeroom

We were the leftovers, assigned to Home Room in the Home Ec room, tucked away in an upper corner of the aging Horace Mann Junior High School. Inexplicably, our Home Room teacher, Mr. Roan, taught Shop. Every morning he climbed the flights of stairs from the noisy, oily machines of the basement, clutching his coffee...

The Pillory

A replica of a pillory in a replica of a Colonial town.  My right arm into the right hole, my left arm into the left.  My neck went right through the center.  I laughed, not because there was anything remotely funny about being hung up in a cross, but just because it felt good to...

Aftermath

After the skies broke open with a stunning crack about two o’clock in the morning, brilliant flashes of blue flooding the Winnebago like strobe lights; after the rain cut rivulets through the sand, long scratches of some malevolent creature obviously displeased with the earth; after Kennie and his dad had been out on the beach...

Not Like You

I’m memorizing a license plate number, which I glimpsed when he grabbed me by my ponytail, punched me, and dragged me into his truck. I repeat it silently, obsessively. NLU-285. Parked in the woods, dozens of miles from the lights of Portland, the midnight air is thick, damp, barely cool. I smell pine trees, clean...

Vitamin M

In the Navy, Vitamin M is the cure for all ailments.  Ship medics prescribe extra-strength Motrin, thousands of milligrams, twice, three times the recommended dosage to treat headaches, hangovers, back pain, stiff necks, fever, carpal tunnel, plantar fasciitis, even acne.  My husband, in his nine years of military service, has adapted easily to the ibuprofen...

Future Ex Buys Pajamas

We begin our descent somewhere over Normandy when I read in Let’s Go! France that the Eiffel Tower is this beacon for suicide. Host to twelve successful attempts every year. Katja tells me the jumpers tend not to be locals. She says no Parisian would be caught dead anywhere near the Eiffel Tower, and by the...

Suspended

The locker room walls were painted puke green and lined like a cage with metal hooks, and red mesh equipment bags hung from the hooks like meat. One of the bags was swinging, and I was swinging in it, and Drew McKinnick slapped at it and did his punching, and the janitor got me down....

You Like It Don’t You, You Like It Hard and Cold

and sweet with surprises inside well let me introduce you to the state line dairy where the cherries in the sherbet are harvested from virgins and the girls filling the cones all have boyfriends in vietnam and the thing in the jar on the counter is a pickled pig’s foot let me introduce you to...