Category: creative nonfiction

Strangers Feel Welcome in My House – Andrea Jefferson

I meet them at gas stations, grocery stores, even Facebook. They ask interests they won’t remember if they ever see me again. They come to my weekend job and ogle my skin while I bag their groceries. When I tell the stories, others that weren’t in my body at the times I talk about think I’m on an ego trip. My ego feeds off acceptance from a father I never knew how to please, off my paintings that blend just so. It doesn’t feed off men that want to come in my house and track water in because “raincoats just don’t feel the same.” 

They feel entitled to just walking in without bothering to ring the doorbell because no one taught them the importance of that doorbell. They probably wouldn’t even know what to do once inside but stomp themselves to lethargy and then ask if my house liked the shakes. My house probably wouldn’t budge. 

Even when I insist there’s already a tenant (sometimes one I’ve fabricated so the issue will drop, rarely one that really resides there), they say he isn’t nearby, that he’s a fool for letting me drag my lawn fixings around without him. The bolder ones say he’s so lucky he gets to water my lawn and eat at my table. It makes me wish my grass was dead so they’d stop asking to come in. 

It makes me lock my doors for weeks at a time, never venturing out past necessity because the strangers will want to follow me. I do everything possible to prevent break-ins, but deep down I know if someone wanted to break in, they’d find an entrance. Even deeper down, I know I’d be blamed for not somehow having unbreakable windows and a pitbull and a fucking dome. 

They say I’ve had people over before, so why not them as if dinner invitations are hand-me-down sweaters. I’m tired of explaining why they’re not welcome. I don’t know what’s scarier: their confusion or their anger. I just know strange men shouldn’t feel entitled to be inside my walls, inside me. 

Andrea Jefferson‘s work has appeared in Eunoia Review, trampset, littledeathlit, Bridge, and others. Find the author on Twitter @honeydreee.

 

Loopholes – Katie King

Yesterday I went to a man because I could because I could

He made soup in the kitchen with lemongrass and molasses and kept bringing me Chinese soup spoons and telling me to smell and to taste and to taste and to smell and I did because I could because I could. I told him I smell more of your hands with 3 turquoise rings than that lemongrass so he put it on the table for me instead. Isolated.

I halved his cherry tomatoes as he asked how the kid liked school I said fine just fine. I said you know I’ve written two poems about you and he said yeah? Here’s a song about you and dragged his hands across the organ and back. 

His roommate watched us watching the soup and hanging clothes on the line and said enjoy your soup and I said I haven’t been invited to eat it and he said she’s right it’s not for her it will be hours before it is ready then he asked me if I wanted him to be romantic and I rolled my eyes and started taking off his belt and he said the rap music in the kitchen was for getting in the mood and you don’t actually have to take it off through the loops you can just unbuckle it and it will save me some time when I put my pants back on and I said but that’s the whole thing for me and my birth control phone alarm went off and I was late for acupuncture but I wasn’t thinking about my wrist and that was worth it. 

He said come on now finish this job and I said you were the one who cooked soup for an hour when I got here and he said yeah you’re right.

Katie King does her best writing at golden hour in front of the window wearing nothing but a bra and earrings as the Canada geese fly past. She has been published in such places as Telepoem Booth, Nude Bruce Review, Thin Air Magazine and at 8 years old, Highlights Magazine. 

You can find her on Facebook here.