I did a lot of things
before you knew me, like crawl on the sandy floors of playgrounds as if I were a lion. I trick-or-treated in neighborhoods of folks that knew my folks before I was born, cloaked by a black hand-me-down grim reaper veil. A friend and I made a pact to start wearing thongs in the fourth grade. I sang the National Anthem at junior high basketball games and boiled in hot tubs at houses of the most popular girls in school. I got cable television for the first time in my life, and then my life didn’t belong to me anymore—it belonged to conformity of manufactured ripped jeans and the desperation of wannabes and asses shaking in depraved music videos. Three different high schools meant three new first impressions. The third first impression: I knew things about things and wore thrifted clothing. I cut my own bangs and I smoked like a flue. I drank beer on my mother’s rooftop, and stole vodka while tending a man’s four dogs. I played Bob Dylan on the piano and danced to the Velvet Underground. I wrote poems that didn’t mean anything and flirted with boys that didn’t mean anything. When I stumbled upon a boy who did mean something, we moved away and in together. We processed photography. We watched Golden Girls. We made love on a futon mattress. I watched his genius turn to confusion. I watched his passion turn to ferocity. When money ran out, I got a job, which led to a better job and a distraction. I liked work better than home, because you were there and you didn’t hit me. But when I wake up earlier than you now, and I look upon your peaceful face, I realize you never ask about who I was or what I did. You never ask anything at all.
I can’t take any of it back.
Originally from the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, Brianne Manning is a freelance writer, marketing strategist, and MFA poetry candidate in University of Central Florida’s creative writing program. Her poetry has appeared in DeadBeats, Blue Monday Review, and is forthcoming in Yellow Chair Review. She is a compulsive pen collector and antique enthusiast.