I worked for him. I wore pigtails and leather coats. I wasn't thin enough, tall enough, in the know. I shook the right hands of famous friends and in this shaking embraced cleaning ladies I'd met in Bogota who slept in cots next to their employer's kitchen after cooking all day. I fetched lotion. I booked plane tickets. I called cars. Sashimi. Burgers without buns. Gold-capped lip balm. Flowers for friends. I wasn't allowed to say I didn't know. If I didn't know I had to say I didn't know. Always say yes. Always say no. Didn't they know who he was. Yes. Yes. Yes. No. No. No. No. No! He said this is how I will always remember you as I bent over to tie my shoes. He said I was beautiful, but my eyes, so dead! What was I doing? No, that was all wrong. I thought you were smart. Did I know who he was? I hid in bathrooms to laugh-cry. There were meetings over skim lattes, his tiny growling canine at our feet. My palms drenched tablecloths, spilled coffee cups. I couldn't find enough spit to swallow. I turned red, blacked out. He said he was so sorry, it was his fault, he was so sorry, it was his fault. I said no, no, no. It's my own.
In this essay, published yesterday by Blake Butler at Fanzine, I attempted to translate some of the wobblier tendrils of my adolescence. It's never easy navigating the angst and ick of teendom. I'm just glad I had Pop Tarts to carry me through those tumultuous couple of years, and of course my endlessly forgiving parents.