Tag: prose



At the end of my first Friday, while I was mid-lecture, you asked me if I was going to the Happy Hour. I thought I deflected your question well; without missing a beat, I told you I didn’t know because I hadn’t heard about it. You didn’t get the rise you wanted out of me (though you’d get it hundreds of times after that).

You did your best work after school, sitting at the long table by my desk, one hand resting on my arm as you completed the assignment. Like you needed to anchor me next to you for that constant reassurance your answers were right.

Later, in the winter of your senior year, they shot you dead on your porch steps.


The human form of Olaf, come to life. You were short, round and glasses. Happy-go-lucky, you always wiggled your leg every time before you took your shot. The class buzzed on your energy, everyone waiting for your next cleverly humorous comment. You started a conversation about multiples, my shockingly relevant secrets growing inside me.

The next year, disheartened by your new teacher, you sought me out for help, looking for support. Unbeknownst to you, I throbbed with the pain of another miscarriage; you swaggered into my room, your crew in tow, to announce to my current students that they should cherish me.


You renamed Math Review Mathketball and wrote a rap about it in the last weeks of class. You were the quintessential sponge, lapping up my tricks and methods to make them your own. When the principal asked who considered herself a mathematician, your hand was a vertical shot in the dimly lit theatre.  The girls around you giggled, and you turned around to catch me eye.

When my son was born, you sent me a bubbly email welcoming him to the world. I read it aloud to him as the summer sun burned across my house.


Time Difference

This time the three hour difference is our advantage. I fire off a string of texts peppered with phrases like: breakdown city, not what I want, and feeling so miserable. I know she won’t be up for a few hours, but the knowledge that she’ll see them when she wakes is a salve to my lonely midnight desperation.

Like Wonder Woman, she swoops in. By the time I wake for the next feeding I’m flooded with advice and resources. At her request, a doula on her coast emailing me recommends on mine.

I am gasping and gulping, tears a broken faucet on my cheeks. I remember the adage that was my junior high motto – it takes a village to raise a child. I always thought that was such a cheesy sentiment, but now I’m marveling at it’s truth, amazed at the expanse of my village, thankful for her presence in my life.

And, for the first time, thankful for three hour differences.


First Impressions at FR

I circle for twenty minutes; my buffer ticking down on the dash. Your words echo in my head admonishing me to not take the toll bridge. But all I see is the damn toll bridge and my GPS won’t reroute. All these roads are unfamiliar: steep neighborhood hills and roundabouts that no one seems to know how to navigate. I have no choice – I take the toll bridge.

An eye on the clock, my exit approaches, and I’m winding up more impossible hills, the city on full display across the water. I’m doubtful; I suspect my GPS has misled me again as I’m instructed to take one more right turn. Supposedly my destination lies just ahead.

And then.

Then I feel it as I see the wooden sign announcing the school. Emotion rushes through me so unexpectedly, I let out a little breath of “oh.”

I know I am exactly where I was meant to be.

Bottling Summer

It was the summer of Dandelion Wine. The salty hours between practices (because what was the point of a shower when another workout was just around the corner?) lost in the adventures of Douglas Spaulding, and his new appreciation of what it meant to be alive. And notice it. She immersed herself in his life: fields of yellow, brand new sneakers, lists of firsts.

She ignored Shakespeare, her assigned reading, because what could The Tempest possibly have on Bradbury and a twelve year old boy discovering the bittersweetness of the world in 1928?

First Practice

The September day clung to the vestiges of Summer, luring her into the feeling of June more than the second week of school.

Her chest heaved, lungs soaked in the dry heat. She peeled off her soccer gear; her shins glistened from the hour’s exertion. Mid-afternoon and her day had just begun. She had hair to crimp, a parade to attend, an induction ceremony. Nevermind the homework load of three AP classes.

She reached for her jug and guzzled the water. Its icy coolness careened down her throat; she imagined a sizzle emerging from her lungs.

The season had started.

Claire’s Commencement

Claire leaned her weight on the balls of her feet, and the rotted wood mushed beneath her. Indentations speckled the floor; the rot was everywhere. Behind her lava sunlight oozed through the windows baking her classroom. The humidity inspired nervous sweat to pool at the base of her neck soaking her collar.

Eyes closed, she swallowed air that tasted of paper and dust as the first bell echoed through the lavender hallways. Her solitude ebbed. Students flowed in, voices clamoring while they ignored the “Welcome Back” message chalked across the board.


Perched on the cool edge of the toilet seat, she watched a line of smoke waft up from the machine as Marie loosened her grip and slid down the strand.

“It’s too hot!”

“It’s fine.” Marie fluffed the left side of her hair, the crimped strands ballooning from her head. Marie’s smile swallowed the mirror. “This is amazing.”

She matched Marie’s smile. Her long curly hair had been transformed into a massive stepped pouf, and she loved it.

The vents in the house hissed as cool air pumped through them. She closed her eyes. This beginning felt electric with possibility.