Right now I have retreated, sweating in my jeans that Xander said were those “Pajama Jeans, the ones that hurt your tummy!” I have several things I want to write but still. Nothing is ready and ripe enough to fall off of the vine yet. So I’m the only one here now, no ghosts of fiction to haunt me, just me in my glasses and my sweaty jeans, avoiding my family because sometimes I’m too toxic and sourly infectious and the only cure for my bad moods is a solid routine of a clacking keyboard and a white down comforter.
Yesterday I saw a plate in Target, choked with butterflies, and it tore me through and through. It reminded me so much of one of stories I want to share, a true one. Of butterflies under glass and cicadas dying beneath a Mason jar from my mom’s kitchen. Of a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover to send all the bugs in the woods to heaven. Of a girl who was my best friend in the whole world and how we were mad at each other for one whole summer until we murdered all those butterflies, spiders, ladybugs, and cicadas. All for science. Skinny as a rail entomologists, each of us wearing white t shirts and cut off jean shorts, contraband Chuck Taylors on our feet (the blue ones I wore were my sisters, and I’m not even sure they were really Chuck Taylors). So the plate, so pretty and melamine, made me think of that hot August day right before ninth grade started, and of Jenny, and of flapping monarch wings and the death of crickets. We had to kill them, you see. It was an assignment. We had to gather them up all summer and place them under glass, label them with their latin names and describe their feeding and mating habits. And Jenny and I hadn’t finished ours because we hated one another that summer, for reasons that girls who are fourteen or thirteen do.
I got two rejections today. I know they mean nothing and the more I submit the more I’ll get but they still sting a little. Writing this has lessened the swelling of that sting.