Max has arrived. He’s wearing a tux and he’s baked me a cake. Like all the cakes he’s made for me, this one is just as elaborate, practically a small wedding cake with the words I love you so much Tatiana you have made me the luckiest man alive xoxoxo crammed into the frosting. It’s such a beautiful cake I don’t believe a sixteen-year-old boy perpetually on the brink of a mental breakdown could have made this, or the one-month, three-month, or five-month-versary cakes, the Christmas cake, the Just Thinking of You I Can’t Wait Until We Can Get Married Someday cake. But Max swears, he made them all.
You sit at a $5 minimum bet table to play heads-up with the dealer, but an old man sits to your right, his silver chest hair poking through the buttons of his Hawaiian shirt. He shakes $80 out of his wallet, checks his pockets, and drops another crumpled $5 onto the table. He bets $10. Chest Hair is dealt a 17 and you’re dealt a 12.
High School for Dummies
The homecoming dance was only a week away, and I was consumed by the details. Should I wear my hair up or down? Long dress or short dress? High heels or wedges? It was such a nice, normal obsession. When I wasn’t daydreaming about my actress career, I was obsessing over whether or not I was pregnant. I feared any headache or hunger or pimple as a sign of pregnancy.
Riding Dinosaurs with Boys
I ran toward the mountain, crouching behind trees to hide from Carnotaurus, eating berries for stamina. We were still on a Discord call but neither of us spoke. I wanted us to talk, but I didn’t know what to say. I knew he was an experienced player and I didn’t want to say something that made me seem like a noob.
Pushcart Prize Nominated
Me Before You
In an ideal world, we are born whole sisters instead of half, and mom takes us to the orphanage or places us in the padded drop-off box at the fire department and we are adopted, together. But she left us, pink and bundled in hospital blankets, with our grandmas, and now our grandmas are dead, I’m living with you and your dad, and the cat is giving birth in the hallway.
Wild Child, an essay in Dogwood 2020
Under the Bed, an essay in Emrys Journal 2019