BY MEGHAN MCCABE
It is 8 o’clock and all I can think about is Daniel Russy’s upper lip. Its soft peachy hairs were dripping warm, wet, sweat as he turned around in home economics to look at me.
“Hey faggot,” he said under his breath. “Eat this.” His large pink hand grasped my porcelain plate in one swift morton. He casually slid it to the end of my desk, and watched it up over the edge. I could feel the thick cream-cheese icing sliding down my calf in globs. His lips curled back and he laughed a high-pitched cackle. No one said anything.
I plug my nose and submerge my head fully into the lukewarm, soapy, bathwatcr. It’s better under here.
My mother is making an omelet again.
1/4 chopped onion
1 green pepper
1/3 cup mushrooms
pinch of salt
bigger pinch of pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheese
She always begins early, around 5am when the rabbits in our backyard arc still sleeping. It’s dark and she can’t see, so she clobbers down the stairs never failing to bang her head on the ceiling, halfway down. We have short ceilings in our house Hut my mother is also very tall. Like an ostrich her long pink legs stick out beneath the pink and blue denim apron she always wears.
She had unwrapped the apron with the brash excitement of a child, leaving strips of white and green paper on our wooden floor. He knew she loved to cook and this gift became an obsession of hers. One of many.
5 expensive dinners
I could tell immediately, as she wrapped the skinny ties around her waist and looked into his eyes with troubled affection. I had seen that look before.
It’s always light when she’s finished and I catch her on the porch. “It needs more cheese,” she says.
It always needs more cheese.
But I let her go, like I always do.
I see Puck from a distance, panting and trotting alongside our weathered fence, then through the garden, then up the back steps to our screen door to meet me.