20 Chapters
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Planche, Whip, Salto

Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press PDF

Planche, Whip, Salto

I.

You spotted the trapeze rig in the spring, where it seemed to have sprouted, like a flower, from its otherwise concrete surroundings.

It was pitched on a medium-sized plot of grass in what counts as a park in your Midwestern city, and you passed it as you drove across town to go to the new international food market for ingredients for a complicated Asian noodle dish. You are at an age— thirty-three—at which all of the sudden you aspire to be thought of as a foodie.

It was empty that day: There were no other hints of circus around—no jugglers, no fire-eaters, no high-wire act—and the trapeze looked lonesome there all by itself, nobody swinging into its net, nobody sitting in the half-ring of bleachers that surrounded it. You didn’t think about it as you and your husband ate dinner that night, your noodles fragrant with Thai basil and delicious, a rare success (except for two varieties of grilled cheese sandwich, which you do very well, you are not a good cook).

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Rough Like Wool

Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press ePub

Nell 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-and-tonics 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 ePub

My 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 Grape-Nuts 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 specific addictions, like a woman who eats baby powder or a guy who spends every night patrolling the streets for dead raccoons and possums to bury.

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The Year of Perfect Happiness

Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press PDF

The Year of Perfect Happiness

A year of perfect happiness, just the sound of it, a single year locked away from the years before it and the years after it, happiness unburdened by nostalgia, perfect. . . .

—Kevin Moffett, “The Volunteer’s Friend”

Januar y

Winter in the city depresses Davis, the grimy slushiness of it, the graduated shades of gray that make up the street, the sky, the dirty snow banks. It is as if the gray trumps all else, Technicolor dragged through dishwater, drained of its brilliance. He can feel it seeping into him, the slow trickle getting into his brain, freezing him like an icicle.

“I’m moving,” he tells Angie over dinner—Angie, who is more than a roommate and less than a girlfriend—and she wrinkles her nose.

“No, you aren’t,” she says and stabs at her food with her fork.

He’s prepared tofu parmigiana for dinner; he and Angie have worked together to perfect his method of cooking tofu, pressing it before dry-frying it and then dipping in egg and breadcrumbs and sautéing. Tomato sauce and mozzarella are cooked on top, browned under the broiler.

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The Men

Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press ePub

This is how Addy likes her life arranged: power yoga on Saturday mornings, jogging on Tuesday nights, reality television no more than three nights a week. Two close friends: Ellen, who is sarcastic and good at baking, and Jennifer, who likes everything, even bad movies. Addy alternates Thursday nights spent with the two of them, like a special kind of yin and yang. She has a pleasing little job: She is the assistant of a woman named Judy McNamara, a stylish, seventy-something ex-academic who is writing a book on the history of contraceptives. Judy pays her way too much to take notes on the use of the acacia bush as sperm deterrent by the ancient Egyptians or sometimes to brew a pot of coffee or spread cream cheese on celery. Addy sometimes suspects that Judy is mostly interested in her company, and perhaps in a younger woman’s views on the Nuva Ring. The work is secretarial, mostly, but she enjoys it; thinks maybe someday she’ll do something as interesting as what Judy McNamara is doing. Greek gynecologist Soranus recommended jumping backwards seven times after intercourse to dislodge sperm. She comes up with little ideas from time to time, and pitches them to Judy, hoping she’ll recognize a faint glimmer of talent and encourage Addy to take on her own interesting, feminist projects.

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