I am a graduate student studying gerontology. For hands-on experience, I work in an adult residential facility.
One morning, assisting a woman as she dresses, she stills me by placing her hand on my arm.
"I just want you to know," she tells me, "that I think you're pretty, even if you are black."
My boyfriend and I are arguing. Despite his attempts to reconcile, I remain stubborn. One morning, when I get off from my graveyard job, I go to his apartment. I sit in my car, decide finally that he has not "paid" enough and drive home.
I plan to return later, but I end up sleeping most of the day and then run errands before my nightshift begins again.
In the morning, I am reading the newspaper at work. I recognize the tennie shoes in the photograph above the story about a young man stabbed at his home following an argument.
Lots of people live over there, I tell myself in response to the mention of the street.
The man, dead now, is not named because family must be contacted first.
My shift over, I clock out and rush to my boyfriend's apartment. Standing on the bloodied porch, I knock and knock and knock, wait for an answer.
Thanks for warming up the crowd.
Your 'opening act'
- Colin Quinn
I am often mistaken to be younger than I am. Ten to twenty years, depending.
I go to a parent-teacher conference at my daughter's school. "I'm here for Kailah," I say, entering the classroom. The teacher looks at me and asks, "Are you her older sister?"
The guy at the deli is younger than me, but he flirts anyway. One day, in response, I say, "I can't go out with you, Darren. You're like half my age."
He smiles at me. "Think stamina," he says.
We love your work and look forward to publishing it.
I am a little girl. A hand slips into my panties and steals away my innocence. How old was I? I can't remember.
Funny, that it is this my mind has chosen to forget.
My mother catches the way my eyes are suddenly alert to the open bag of M&M's in the candy aisle in Safeway. She warns me not to bother them.
Soon as I can, my mother busy comparing prices, I slip back to the aisle and fill my pockets with the rainbow colored bits.
Throwing my head back in joy, I let a handful drop into my mouth.
My bliss is short-lived. An undercover cop, posing as a customer, catches me.
He asks me why I opened the bag and took the candy.
I tell him I didn't open the bag.
He delivers me to my mother and tells her that she'll have to pay for the candy I opened.
I yell, argue that I DID NOT open the bag.
I may steal, but I do not lie.
About the author:
Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz is a poet, fiction writer and essayist. Her work has appeared in various online and print journals as well as three anthologies. When Mintz isn't writing, she raises children and turtles, performs comedy and reads. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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