What (Not) to Say to People with Chronic Conditions

“But isn’t there something you can take?” If you have a chronic condition like me, this question camps out on your front porch like a creeper and waits to hop into every visitor’s mouth. “But isn’t there something you can take?” It comes from the best of places, I promise. The people around you just don’tContinue reading “What (Not) to Say to People with Chronic Conditions”

Resilience: The Last of the Human Freedoms

The dandelion. A weed, everyone says, but it’s always been one of my favorite flowers. That lion’s mane of yellow petals. Ferocious. Shooting up anywhere. Everywhere. Between cracks in the sidewalk, among the rose beds, under front steps, in ditches along the roadside. Sprouting over lawns. I’ve yet to see a boundary the dandelion can’tContinue reading “Resilience: The Last of the Human Freedoms”

My First Bar Tab at 32

“Really?” My friend, A., asked. We’ve known each other 20 years, but she’d been away for the last ten. “Really.” I assured her. “Why would I? Do I seem like the type to hang out in bars?” “Okay. Fine.” “So how do I do this?” She smirked. “I think you just walk up and say,Continue reading “My First Bar Tab at 32”

Mormon Feminista

One week in Laurels, the Sunday School class for 16 to 17-year-old Mormon girls, my teacher passed out pairs of knitted white baby booties and Xeroxed excerpts from a 1950s women’s magazine. While the boys down the hall talked football, college, and career goals, we read about what sort of wives we would become. After you marry, you willContinue reading “Mormon Feminista”

The Wiffle Bat

“You remember the time I tried to kill you?” My brother asks, “Which one?” “The one in the backyard with the wiffle bat.” He doesn’t remember that particular attempt. He says, “We both did a lot of things we regret.” “Yeah.” But what is regret? The recognition that something could have been different—but wasn’t? HowContinue reading “The Wiffle Bat”

So a Random Guy Pulls up and Asks If I Want a Ride

So I’m walking down my street with a full grocery bag when a guy pulls up to me in his car. He pulls up with his window down and looks me over and asks, “Want a ride?” I’ve never seen this guy anywhere in my life. So I wait for him to realize his mistake—because he must haveContinue reading “So a Random Guy Pulls up and Asks If I Want a Ride”

All in the Family

I imagine my mother at my age. A little older. Maybe 36. It’s all she has left, she tells herself. And then she flips the switch. The motor hums. And she leans into the sharp light at her sewing machine and plows another seam. One woman mattered to my mother more than any other: herContinue reading “All in the Family”

Circa 1939

Grandpa Ellis didn’t talk about the time he spent riding the rails. He didn’t talk much at all. He’d come of age in the company of hungry, hollow-eyed men, and he’d learned their silence well. Latched on like barnacles to the roofs of freight cars, they clicked off the miles of open country. He diedContinue reading “Circa 1939”