It started inconspicuously, the cold. Lunch tray gripped firmly, back bent inwards that painful way for posture, her elbows locked. She felt the bones shifting furniture, taking down paintings, scratching at the front door and throwing away the key. Then her knees. A subtle crack, a tightening in her lower thighs, a stop. She scanned the room, desperate for somebody that could help her, somebody that would notice. There he was: that young collegiate professor, with the burgundy sweater and its off-yellow trim and thin-rimmed glasses accentuating his oddly gray expressions. He stared, his gaze almost cruel, at the unremarkable woman stood frozen across the cafeteria. She felt the cold tingling along the base of her neck, touching the softest sides of her throat – these were the spots that her four most recent lovers had often neglected. They had grazed their lips against her neck, their tongues, and been close but never there. She wouldn’t have the means to speak soon.
[If you’re satisfied, buy The Family Jewels.]
Fuck you, mom. Fuck you, dad. Fuck you, teachers, and fuck your keeping-me-up-late-at-night-assignments and irrelevant examinations. Fuck you, [insert best friend’s name], you’re always trying to show me up. Yeah you are, with your designer label clothing and your thoughtfully messy hairstyle. Fuck you, girlfriend, I know you’re messing around behind my back with [insert best friend’s name]. I know you don’t love me. That’s okay, we’re young, it doesn’t count. We’ll grow old and forget each other and marry other people and maybe wistfully think once about the good ol’ high school days, and there will be no animosity, just our own marveling at how we’ve grown. But fuck you anyway. [J.R.]