What Girls Leave Behind

Other Voices

“How did the rubber band bracelet snap? I don’t remember, but I can picture it in my head. Hear it. All the confusion, a swirl, a smash. Noisy girls running in my apartment, my daughters on visitation. Afterwards, a string of things left behind: purple socks and stains, a blue, fuzzy bumble-bee and soggy pretzel sticks, plastic juice cups half filled with red Kool-Aid. Those nights, weekends—when sometimes I was drunk and sometimes I was angry—those nights are caught in the amber of blackouts and scotch. My memory has condensed the years into slow-moving stick-figure cartoons, like the kind we drew when we were kids. The outlines of motion. Occasionally, I remember a startling fragment that makes me jump as if a bug has flown in my mouth and is caught in my throat. I don’t want to swallow it.”