are there still beautiful things?
i used to dance to taylor swift
barefoot in the clover patch behind the baseball field
whispering green apple scented secrets
into gabriella’s hair
now i cry to taylor swift
curled up in the bottom of the shower
watching through blurry eyes
as the memories swirl down the drain
I did it. I did it! It WORKED!!
It’s been weeks but I never forgot, not for one second. I was just giving it lots of time. I made MOSQUITOES! Daddy's big, giant coffee-table book was right!
I filled up Daddy’s cement mixer barrel back here, back behind the garage. I filled it up with the hose.
My first-ever EXPERIMENT.
I just left it all alone back here. I didn't even have to CHECK on it. The water was just sitting here. Nobody comes back here but me.
Look at 'em. They’re HERE. Wriggly-wiggle things like worms in the water. Like worms that're mad. Look at how they swim. They twitch back and forth all over, all over in the water. I did it. I made mosquitos. I PROVED it!
Look at THOSE ones. They don’t move. They just have a shell, but they still have a tail. But BANG if I do this on the side, BANG if I do it again--they still move when I do that. Those are pupas. They are older. Not the larvaes. They are younger. Larvaes wiggle way, way more. Pupas are almost grown-ups. After that, I know, they come out of the water and fly. The kids ones are the larvaes.
I got here just in time. Most of them are larvaes still. They all hold their breath underwater, but they gotta come up to breathe air through their buppies, that’s when they gotta come up sometimes. They stick their buppy tube into the air when they get all the way up on the surface. Then they just float. That's the pokey thing that’s their breathing tube. It’s like my snorkel when I go swimming at Grampa’s.
Can’t believe I did it. I made mosquitos. They came from out of nowhere. Just by leaving it filled up.
I watch and watch them forever because I made this. I bend down and pick up little, tiny rocks. They squiggle away from my rocks when I drop them. There’s A GAZILLION of them now!
Run inside and tell Mommy. She will see. She'll see what a smart thing I did.
But Mommy says if am I crazy, what do I think I am doing, I can't do that. She says wait for Daddy to get home, he can dump it out.
No. Mommy. Here’s what it is. There’s amazingness of life that’s important.
Mommy just says they bite.
Mosquitoes bite. I already know. That’s not what I was seeing. I was seeing if they would come and they did. There’s amazingness of life. Amazingness of life.
I thought Mommy would like it. She says Daddy will dump it, don't worry.
Grownups don’t even care and that’s all. That’s how come I’m sad right now. They don’t even care about life in nature. They never like good stuff that's fun.
Edge of Seventeen
She laughed from the doorway. She had friends, or whatever you call someone you're about to play a prank with: calling my mom at midnight, pretending to be an Italian restaurant, did you order the hot pastrami, ma'am?
This prank was taken seriously, in the way a WASP panics when money might be spent unnecessarily.
My sister was, perhaps in that vein, serious about my recovery. She was jealous I weighed 90 pounds, but otherwise unaffected. We shared laughs about food. But deep under the surface, there was a storm she was not ready for. In the way a WASP child learns to suppress their emotions, my sister was already well on her way to being an alcoholic herself, like our mother, earning a gold star for still being functional.
She was still laughing from the doorway, and rushed over to my car, the one I was about to crash on the highway because I didn't check my blind spot. I was oblivious; a teenager without parental guidance because I was yelled at when I tried, for anything at all.
My sister handed me a pad of post-it notes through my car window. On them was written: medicated and motivated.
I had to laugh. But underneath I was experiencing her same fear, the storm that was about to occur: not just on highway 89, but many later endless hospital stays, rehab centers, treatment programs.
We laughed together, but were cringing separately.
As I drove away, I placed the post-it notes on the dashboard. Later that day, after the crash, she would witness me throwing my entire dinner away in the trash; I had failed to be the unnoticed WASP on the wall.
We both suffered that day, but laughing was our tonic. We laughed at the absurdity of our situation, our parents. We always will.
It was a happy moment, because that's as happy as it got when I was seventeen.