1) My third grade teacher, Missus Kara-Jane Crosley, singled me out and was always cross with me.
“You hang upside down on the monkey bars, wearing denim jumpers crafted from old overalls. You speak in gibberish of counting stars, and stand your ground when I say ‘No, only boys come from Mars.’ You come in late after recess time, and fumble the words of every nursery rhyme. Kayla, there are two types of people in this world: you and everyone else.”
My Body lies over the ocean
My Body lies over the sea
My Body lies over the ocean
Oh, bring back my Body to me . . .
2) A child of the seventies, my father grew up pining for a color television, which was a luxury his family of factory workers could not afford. When I was ten years old, he bought me a twelve-inch set for Christmas, and displayed it like a trophy on the shelf above my head. Watching re-runs of
Sex and the City made staying up past bedtime feel all the more rebellious. I wonder how the children of the seventies learned what their parts were for.
3) I removed my thorn-torn stockings, patched the wound with gauze and sap, and descended the stairs with an announcement caught in my throat:
“Ma-ma, I am a maple. Ma-ma, I’ve been tapped. Peter popped my cherry behind the sugar shack.”
“Oh, that’s nice honey, how was track?”
4) A daily dose of progesterone kept the baby away, and Planned Parenthood let me have it without parental consent or co-pay.
On October 30, 2010, the day Drew and I became exclusive, he flushed my pills down the toilet, called me a junkie, and swore he would rather be alone than watch me poison my body with artificial hormones.
He said, “I want to wear a condom,”
and I said, “Thank God for that.”
“Charge them with your card; don’t worry,
I’ll spot you some cash.”
5) “Joanne, we’re gonna need a vomit pan in here,” crowed the nurse, as I gripped the stress ball in my palm so tightly that she half-expected to see juice and clotted pulp dripping from my wrist. I retracted my limbs to keep them from whipping in the wind. I was a tortoise. I was a gyromancer. For once, I was in control.
The results arrived three weeks later, sealed in a broad manilla envelope colored like mustard: straight negatives. I breathed sweet relief into my cupped hands, still shivering with anxious anticipation. That bastard cost me fifty dollars, eighty-three cents, and an immeasurable sum of pride.Always buckle up before you ride.
6) Before I turned vegetarian, and cut out all white foods, my favorite meal was barbecue chicken quarters, tucked into a warm bed of instant mashed potatoes. Hungry Jack ate his legs whole, and so did I, from drumstick handle to upper-thigh.
It may be said that “you are what you eat,” but I grew neither bird’s legs nor bird feet, so I switched to a diet of nuts and seeds, to end world hunger and fight disease.
7) I broke three years of fidelity to have sex with an ex, and it wasn’t even as hot as I thought it would be. We fucked four times — in the men’s room at South Station, against the front door of his apartment, on the kitchen counter tops and, once more, under the shower(for the sake of conserving water). We fell asleep on opposite ends of the couch, each cradling a paper cup half empty with Honey Nut Cheerios, like grown-ups engaged in a real grown-up affair. That night, I dreamt I was an animal, and woke up with a tail between my legs. Home wanted to know where I had been, “How was your weekend? Did you have fun?” I laid down three aces, and waited for him to call bullshit, but he never did. I am a good girl who does very bad things, but only when I know that I can get away with them.
8) “Ms. Kennett, I understand that you prefer to be called ‘Lucy,’ is that correct?”
The receptionist donned a puzzled expression, as the patient paused to puzzle over her question, separating its syllables into columns, scratching plus and equals signs into the cheap pressboard desktop.
That time, I nodded, but neither confirmed nor denied it.
[to be continued]
9) [to be determined]
event related to exploration of sexuality
10) [to be determined]
event related to intimate partner violence
11) I want to feel the force of my wrath and swing, smashing all the delicate things, but I resist, and in resistance, find strength.
Bring back, bring back
Bring back my Body to me