by Trisha Federis

THE REST, OF COURSE, IS HISTORY: your cut lip, his bruised knuckles, that silent stare, a second after you challenged him. The many fights that ended with both of you rolled up in the tiniest of human balls on the bed, like roly-polies shuddering under the touch of a giant, violating fingertip. The last time you made up. The first time you threw the word punch. It felt good, right? It felt liberating? He talked about your emails while you called him out on his callousness? How once at PE he made a girl run to the bathroom in tears because her first name rhymed with penis. You knew right then, on the first date, slurping from the same swirly straw as he told you this story that it could only go wrong from there. You could see the same realization dawn on his face too, when reaching for the ketchup, you said you never wanted children because you don’t want to pass on your genes. What an alarming first date at an overpriced diner. But it was appealing because you could tell he had history and that enigmatic smile wasn’t frustrating, it was inviting; it made you think of yourself as Alice falling down a rabbit hole. It certainly felt like that to you at the bar with the fourth shot glass in your hand and you found yourself complimenting his nice shoes. “The world will be spinning tomorrow,” your friend commanded as you stepped through the door crowned with the faded holly wreath. Because it was the night before Christmas and for the first time in months you didn’t feel like crying. Because the love of your life number 2 didn’t have the empathy to listen to your ancestors. And the love of your life 1.5 couldn’t remember where your parents were from. And love of your life number 1 said he was colorblind. The day crush number 50 asked why you ate with a spoon and a fork, that was the last time you ate your dinner with a spoon and a fork. Shame, since your parents tried so hard to drill that into your head. The spoon in the right, the fork in the left. You’ll get a slap across your wrists if you get the two wrong. By that time you and your sisters were good at tuning out what they said. In the backyard stroking roly-polies while they threw word punches in the kitchen in their own made up language. You once thought you fell down the rabbit hole when you opened the door to their bedroom and he was asleep and holding her, both pairs of legs bent at the knees like they were perhaps one person. When you told your sister that you caught them having sex, she didn’t believe you, just like the time you claimed you didn’t play with her dolls when you did. She knew you lied, so she pushed you off the chair, and you slid backwards into the fake plastic Christmas tree. What an act of rage to make it all collapse, twirling downwards like a big poky hurricane upon your childhood friendship. Your sister was your best friend. And now you two lay in and on top of a pile of prickly stale branches. You guys always hated that thing, but even then you couldn’t deny that the tree was mythical. It was made in 1980 and therefore would always be older than the two of you. Your grandpa bought it at a garage sale for his first Christmas in America.


Trisha Federis eats fiction for breakfast. She is from Southern California.


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