Girl-Thing_sizedBecause I needed the cash, because it seemed like the girl thing to do, I took a certification course in babysitting to learn the essentials of diaper changing, of getting a baby to take the Gerber’s off the spoon, and of infant CPR, which we practiced on naked, rubbery dolls. But they didn’t teach us what to do when the job is done—when the littlest one, who screamed all night, is finally asleep in the crib, and the baby’s father drives you home slurry at the wheel, and he slides a roving hand across the divide and onto the space that used to be known, seconds ago, as your innocuous upper thigh. “You’re growing up so fast,” he says. And sitting in the car—now a vehicle for ugly things like upper thighs, glassy eyes, and the rot-breath of intoxication—you think about how bullshit this all is, that you’re growing up at the same rate as every other goddamned girl in that babysitting class who paid twenty-five bucks to have adults critique her in the art of child-rearing. A certified screw. But you can’t do anything, because they’ve already taken your money, and this man is at the wheel, and your body is changing fast, so fast you don’t know anymore if you are a girl, and if that noun means you are a person, place, or thing.

Anna Vodicka‘s first publication appeared recently in Michigan Quarterly Review, and she has an essay forthcoming in Shenandoah. She is a grant recipient of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies and the Idaho Potato Commission, and she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Idaho, where she taught composition and creative writing. She currently writes from Spokane.

Photo by Annie Agnone