20 Chapters
Medium 9781574415650

Baby Baby

Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press PDF

Baby Baby

T

here are certain things you keep to yourself. Once, when Mina was ten years old, she went through her older sister’s underwear drawer and took her time putting on all of her sister’s fancy lingerie, padded bras and lacy silk panties. She couldn’t explain it at the time, not even to herself, but she liked the feeling it gave her. It was like trying on a new stage of life, something that is strange and foreign and which excites you in a way that you don’t yet have the vocabulary to express. Human beings, Mina thinks, are endlessly odd.

She recalls the lingerie now, as she stands in front of her bedroom mirror wearing a fake pregnancy belly: the heavy, realistic type meant to startle high school girls into abstinence. This, along with the her proclivity for standing very, very close to the bathroom mirror and digging blackheads out of her chin with her fingernail, are things she would rather her boyfriend, Tom, did not know about. And so when she hears the scrape of his key in the lock—they are house hunting, and he’s here to take her to another showing—she gives herself one last sidelong glance in the mirror, a small chill of excitement pulsing in her veins as she quickly unfastens the metal snaps and stashes the whole thing in the closet, beneath a wad of old sheets.

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Rough Like Wool

Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press PDF

Rough Like Wool

N

ell signed up for the internet dating service because she felt herself caught in a weird kind of limbo:

Though she was only twenty-six, the women she knew were either married and planning earnestly for children, or they were single and went out to clubs where they drank watery gin-andtonics and danced to throbbing music that hurt Nell’s ears. At first she worried that someone she knew would see her profile, but then reminded herself that that would mean that he had signed up with the same site. Maybe, even, she would be matched with somebody she already knew, Tony from work or Chad who had been in her spinning class in the spring, and they would laugh about the whole thing and wouldn’t even have to tell people that they’d signed up with an internet dating service, but that they’d met at work or in spinning class, whichever was the case. And so she had created a profile and uploaded a photo, vowing to herself that she’d cancel the service after the two-week free trial was up, like Netflix.

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Thank You for the ________

Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press PDF

Thank You for the ____________

M

y husband and I are eating takeout spaghetti and meatballs in a motel because our house has bedbugs.

At one point we didn’t have them and then we did, finding them moving in their slow buzz on the mattress seams and headboard and behind the electrical switch-plate by my nightstand. My husband wanted to stay with friends, but I’m not the type of person who likes to see whether you eat poached eggs or GrapeNuts for breakfast.

My husband booked the motel. According to him it’s nice enough, which means it’s gross. There was a long dark hair on one of the towels when we arrived and the whole place seems kind of damp, like Spanish moss. The little fridge in the kitchenette works only for keeping beers sort of cold, which we found out after we bought milk and deli meat. The only good thing about the motel is that it has cable. We spend a lot of nights eating cheap Italian food from Paliani’s and watching whatever’s on: sitcoms, cartoons, cooking shows, infomercials, shows about the lives of famous people’s unfamous spouses, shows about people who want to be magicians, shows about badly dressed people who are ambushed into buying new wardrobes. Our favorite is this show about people who have really weird and

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Grip

Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press ePub

I love the pole vault because it is a professor’s sport. One must not only run and jump, but one must think. Which pole to use, which height to jump […] I love it because the results are immediate and the strongest is the winner. Everyone knows it. In everyday life that is difficult to prove.

—Sergey Bubka, 1988

When Ewan began pole vaulting again, he did it secretively, furtively, a thing he held inside his chest until it pulsed—like a family secret, or a lie. Lucky for him, it was a sport well-suited to solitude: You didn’t need someone to hit ground balls to you, to rebound missed shots, to return your serves. It had been eight years since his last vault—it was hardly a sport of casual pursuit—and he missed it. Really missed it. Standing at the end of the runway before his first jump, he felt a buildup of energy course through his limbs, the sensation so visceral that he closed his eyes and simply let himself feel the weight of the pole resting in his hands, that lovely feeling of anticipation. It was the day after he and Cora decided, officially, to start trying for a baby, him making a nervous joke as she pulled him to her that it was time to see if his boys could swim.

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The Second Wife

Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press PDF

The Second Wife

T

he first wife was dead, which called for a reverence of spirit when speaking of her, a lowered voice and furrowed, sympathetic brow, but the problem was that the second wife didn’t feel reverent. She felt fascinated, curious—but not reverent. She liked to ask questions about her, questions like which sections of the newspaper had she enjoyed most and did she always cook a vegetable side dish with dinner (the second wife did not) and what were her thoughts on movies in which a man and a woman switched bodies? There was a gingerliness embedded in the husband’s manner as he answered these questions. The second wife sensed that he felt they were disrespectful of the first wife’s memory, but she did not. When I die, she often said, I hope there is someone who wants to know if I liked eating cantaloupe in the summer and going to amusement parks.

She liked cantaloupe fine, the husband would sigh, or We never went to an amusement park together, and the second wife would record these tidbits in her mind, like a court reporter.

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