Author: Shira Lipkin

Never Chose This Way

Once upon a time, I thought I was a girl.

Once upon a time, I lived in a castle. Well, it wasn’t really a castle. It was a fortress of sorts, though, and it had something like a moat and something like dragons, or that’s the story we told each other at night, whispered from room to room, down halls that stank of antiseptic and that stuff you sprinkle on carpets to soak up bodily fluids.

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Becca at the End of the World

I nestle the video camera on its makeshift tripod, carefully centering my daughter’s image. She tucks her hair behind her ear and gives a strained smile. She is sixteen, and that hair is long and golden–kissed light brown and straight; she has the gangly grace only teenagers have, that sleek gazelle form. She is wearing khaki shorts and a striped tank top, and the bite mark on her arm is already putrefying.

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When I was twenty years old, my best friends and I stepped off the edge of the world.

Michael died yesterday.

These two things have everything and nothing to do with each other.

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The waiter’s name is Valentine. He has long, slim fingers, and he writes down my order instead of pretending to commit it to memory. I like that, his pen on the paper bringing forth one simple thing about me. My lunch. Just a tiny fragment of information.

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