For my 11th birthday, I asked to be adopted.
I just try to write what I think would really happen, and with grief and tragedy, there are these naturally occurring moments of levity and humor and absurdity. I think that's what life is really like. Sadness gets interrupted, and happiness gets interrupted.
I tilt my face up and inhale, willing my surroundings to enter me somehow and to remind me how small I am.
There’s something different about her. I realize it’s her breasts—they’re huge. I see that she’s stuffed her bikini top with wet balls of sand.“What is that?” I say. “Scottie. Your suit.”She shields her eyes with her hand and looks down at her chest. “Beach boobs,” she says.“Take that out of there,” I say. “Alex. Why’d you let her do that?”Alex is on her stomach, with the straps of her top untied. She lifts her head toward Scottie. “I didn’t know. Take them out, stupid.”Sid lifts his head. “Honestly,” he says, “big boobs look kind of fatty.”“As Bebe says, boobs suck,” Alex says, “and Sid’s full of shit. He loves big boobs.”“Who’s Bebe?” Scottie lets the sand fall out of her top.“Character from South Park,” Sid says. “And I love small boobs, too, Alex. I’m an equal-opportunity employer.
I like to add props to render the specificities of place - paintings, food, clothing, signs, infrastructure, music, sayings and slang particular to the region and particular to the character. And props shouldn't just sit there; they should get used.
I'm sorry, I say. I didn't give you everything you wanted. I wasn't everything you wanted. You were everything I wanted.
We don’t treat each other very well, I suppose. Even from the start. It was as though we had the seven-year itch the day we met. The day she went into a coma, I heard her telling her friend Shelley that I was useless, that I leave my socks hanging on every doorknob in the house. At weddings we roll our eyes at the burgeoning love around us, the vows that we know will morph into new kinds of promises: I vow not to kiss you when you’re trying to read. I will tolerate you in sickness and ignore you in health. I promise to let you watch that stupid news show about celebrities, since you’re so disenchanted with your own life.Joanie and I were urged by her brother, Barry, to subject ourselves to counseling as a decent couple would. Barry is a man of the couch, a believer in weekly therapy, affirmations, and pulse points. Once he tried to show us exercises he’d been doing in session with his girlfriend. We were instructed to trade reasons, abstract or specific, why we stayed with each other. I started off by saying that Joanie would get drunk and pretend I was someone else and do this neat thing with her tongue. Joanie said tax breaks. Barry cried. Openly. His second wife had recently left him for someone who understood that a man didn’t do volunteer work.
What's great about teen fiction is that it's all mixed up - there's highbrow and lowbrow!
I think grief and fear are going to come to him suddenly. They'll be undiluted and words won't work. We're all going to get hit and won't know how to hit back. I wish I knew the answers, how to help myself and the people who will hurt all around me.
Reina sounds awesome,” Sid says. “I’m digging her more and more.”“Were you there?” I ask. “Have you seen one of these movies?”“No,” Scottie says.“Scottie,” Alex says, kicking Sid in the ribs. “Reina is a fuckedup ho bag, and you need to stay away from her. I’ve already told you that. Do you want to end up like me?”“Yes,” Scottie says.“I mean the earlier me, when I was yelling at Mom.”“No,” Scottie says.“Well, Reina is going to be a crackhead, and she’s going to get used. She’s a twat. Say it.”“Twat,” Scottie says. She gets up and runs across the room, saying, “Twat twat twat twat twat.”“Holy shit,” Sid says. “This is some messed-up parenting. Isn’t it?”Alex shrugs. “Maybe. I guess we’ll see.”“I don’t get it,” I say. “I don’t know what to do. These things she does, they keep happening.”“It will go away,” Alex says.“Will it? I mean, look at how you kids talk. In front of me, especially. It’s like you don’t respect authority.”The kids stare at the television. I tell them to get out. I’m going to bed.