Friends,

It’s been a very busy week for me. I thought the hard part was writing the book-you know, the six plus years of revising and revising and revising…. Nope, the hard part is NOW- getting the book into the hands of you, my readers. I went with an Indie press mainly because I believe in this press, and felt loved and respected by its editor, the lovely Robin Stratton. The downside is that the system is set up to help the big publishers, and the little guys need to work extra hard at spreading our message!

So, I’m writing today to ask if you will consider purchasing a copy of Fat Girl, Skinny, the memoir I wrote about losing 100 pounds on Weight Watchers, and finding myself in the process. If you, my blog audience, order through my website, you can use promocode: Blog at checkout. You will receive free shipping PLUS your copy will be signed Just click on the “shop” tab here.

If you like the book, I hope you’ll consider giving it an Amazon review. Thank you for your continued support. The blog has over 1500 followers, and you have all been so supportive. I look forward to writing more and sharing my story with you.

PS. If you’re looking for the Kindle version, it’s right here.

Best,

Amye

Prologue

The women of Weight Watchers are tough. A gang. The Bloods, the Crips, and the Latin Kings all rolled into one. Sure, we look harmless enough. Ten or fifteen portly women standing like preschoolers in a straight line outside the door, waiting for the loud mouthed receptionist to swing it open and begin to weigh us. But make no mistake about it. If you cross us, if you come to a meeting already thin and complaining about five extra pounds that you have gained over the winter and need to lose before bikini season, we will cut you. We will grab you with our fat little paws, roll you up into a tiny little ball, and kick your skinny ass out of here. Because this is our turf. The basement of the Northeast Pennsylvania Chapter of the Electrical Workers Union, with its mundane pine paneling and shiny medicinal floors, belongs to us every Thursday night from seven until eight fifteen. So, if you have less than ten pounds to lose, stay home. Get a stomach flu, stick your finger down your throat, or swallow a laxative, we don’t care. Just don’t come here.

“Ugh, I feel gross,” says Sherri (with an i).

“You’ll be fine,” says a voice from somewhere in the front of the line.

“ I had a brownie last night and I swear to God it went right to my ass.”

“No, it takes a while to catch up with you. You’ll probably see it next week,” says a different voice.

“I hate this,” sighs Sherri.

I am late, as always, so I am all the way at the tail end of the line and can barely hear the riveting retellings of this week’s sins, but I know they are happening. The line snakes around the long thin corridor and is full of women sizing one another up. We smile and greet one another like we are fighters on the same side, sisters in arms, but deep down we are praying for one another’s demise. I am nowhere near as big as she is. Wow, I hope I don’t look like that. Who does she think she is, wearing that kind of top?

There is a certain code of conduct required. You won’t find it in your introductory binder or your new “Getting Started” booklet. You have to become one of us to learn it. For instance, you have to get here early. That’s one of the unspoken rules. If you’re late, you are stuck in a long, very slow moving procession of nerves and anxiety. What you want is a quickie. Hop on the scale, get the good or bad news, leave the money on the counter and move on. The desire to be here first and to avoid the long wait results in a hallway full of overweight women staring at a closed door, clutching their weekly food journals in one hand and thirteen dollars in the other.

It is the middle of December, yet all of us have come dressed as close to naked as we can get without being arrested for indecent exposure. I’m wearing tiny little knit shorts, a tank top, and socks with sandals. You cannot stand barefoot on the scale, another rule. You cannot hear your weight, the specific number, out loud. That is yet another rule. If you do not follow these expectations, you stick out like the new kid in school. We can smell it on you.

When it’s my turn, I hand my book and money over to Joan, an elderly woman with shaky hands and a broad smile. My book is my bible. The list of everything that went into my body this week, with the exception of the Snickers Bar (6 pts) and three Tootsie Rolls (2 pts each) I jammed in my mouth only moments earlier in the car. Joan stamps a red PAID over this week’s date and motions for me to climb onto the scale.

“Wow, down three more pounds, Amye! Nice work! What’s that bring you to now?” she asks loudly, hoping my success will serve as inspiration.

“Um, twenty seven,” I answer, barely able to conceal a smile.

“Twenty seven! Wow! Do you hear that everyone? Amye has lost twenty-seven pounds!” Joan announces to the small room where we have all filtered in and taken off our sandals.

FinalCoverWebThe geniuses at Weight Watchers have developed a super-secret system in which everything has a certain points value based on the calories, fiber, and fat that an item contains. These points then consume your life. I have become obsessed with counting points, calories, and grams of fiber. My dinners come in points now. I have become fluent in points. I can look around and see the points in everything. A hamburger made from lean meat and no cheese, five points. The side of broccoli with one pat of butter, two points. A hot dog, no bun, six points. A banana, two points. Baked chicken, two ounces, three points. A delicious, mouth watering Double Whopper with Cheese, twenty-five points. When I am at the supermarket, I see rows and rows of shiny points. I speak in points. I dream of points. I have become a point. If you cut me open I will bleed points.

My best friend, Georgia, who has only a handful of pounds to lose, has agreed to accompany me on this journey. Together, we have developed a language that only we understand.

Me: I am starving, what can I eat for two points?

Her: Can you use Flex?

Me: Maybe, if I go under tomorrow. How about a granola bar? Her: Too pointy. Can you do a veggie?

Me: Sigh. I guess.

It’s a language that draws confused stares from skinny strangers and smiles of recognition from pudgy women in the grocery store.  The shaky receptionist affixes a golden star to my weigh-in booklet, folds everything nice and tight, and sends me on my way.

I wish I could say I had an epiphany that brought me to Weight Watchers. That I had cared so much about my own body, my own health, and my own well being that I dragged my fat ass to the only place I knew could help me. But that was not the case. I’m here because I’m desperate. I’m here because I have nowhere else to go. I’m here because I need help.

As a teenager, I remember reading a book my mother had that was written by Richard Simmons. He described the event that made him lose weight. Apparently, some well meaning Samaritan who loved him but didn’t have the guts to criticize him, put a note on his car that said something to the effect of “I love you, please don’t die.” This changed his life and inspired him to lose weight and begin helping others lose weight. The story fascinated me, not because of the touching moment in which Simmons realized someone cared about him, but because I always thought to myself: What kind of an asshole would leave a note like that? I wish I had a Richard Simmons story, but the truth is there was no cute moment like that. I have had plenty of events over the years that should have inspired this change but never did.

I have been in a stuffy elevator and had some guy ask me when my baby was due. I have had the people at work call me an elephant and make cow noises when I walked by. I have stared at myself in a full length mirror, while being wedged by two seamstresses into a size 28 wedding dress. I have been told by a doctor that I will almost certainly contract Type II Diabetes. I have been at an amusement park and left a ride line because I was afraid that the pull down bar would not fit over my stomach. I have been labeled sterile because of my heft. I have had chairs break under my weight in the company of friends. Still, none of these events triggered that moment of inspiration.

I wish I could say it happened in one of those ways, because the truth is actually worse. I’m here because of a man.

Fat Girl, Skinny is available now at Amazon!

After five years, I am so pleased to announce that my memoir, Fat Girl, Skinny, will finally be available to read-thanks to Big Table Publishing! This memoir has been a labor of love, and I am so thrilled to finally be able to share it with the world.

Here’s a bit about the book:FinalCoverWeb.jpg

After her husband leaves her for a skinnier, blonder, younger (better?) woman, Amye is forced to confront the food addiction that has been holding her back for most of her life and has left her weighing two hundred and sixty-five pounds.  With the help of the gang of girls of Weight Watchers, and their fearless leader —former fatty and community college dropout—Pantsuit Pam, Amye spends the next year losing weight and learning to live in a skinny (er) woman’s body.  Only being skinny is not as easy as it looks, especially when inside, she will always be a fat girl.

Fat Girl, Skinny is Amye’s story, but it’s also the story of anyone who has ever been told: “You’d be pretty…if”.

Advance Praise for Fat Girl, Skinny:

“Amye Archer has a completely original and fresh voice…I loved this book.”
Abigail Thomas, Safekeeping

“Anyone who’s ever been a few pounds overweight, had self-esteem issues, love troubles, or a bad relationship–in other words every woman I know–will see herself in Amye Archer’s story.”
                                                                        –Beverly Donofrio, Riding in Cars with Boys

“Archer’s funny prose would be enough to grab the reader; but it’s her insight into the human psyche that holds on and won’t let go. We are rooting for her from page one…”
                                             –Martha Frankel, Executive Director of Woodstock Writers Festival

Reserve your copy today at www.amyearcher.com!

What Not to Do When Grieving Your Grandmother

  1. Listen to the Norah Jones channel on Pandora.
  2. Listen to voice-mails you’ve saved in which her voice becomes a blanket-warm and familiar.
  3. Drive past her house two times each day.
  4. Watch any movies, even the comedies, because you will cry whenever the interaction moves up the matriarchal chain, reminding you of the break in your own.
  5. Shop at her favorite store.
  6. Sleep

I’m working on the rest.

I lost my beloved grandmother last month, and as part of trying to process what happened, I’m using some writing therapy to get through it. Forgive me the sentimentality.

Just Kids

While you were dying, I was reading Patti Smith’s Just Kids. I had just started it, still knee-deep in her catholic upbringing when I first heard the word cancer. Patti’s own words started to blur together after that. Mary, crucifix, Brooklyn, I couldn’t crawl out of the haze. The nurses ticked in and out of your room like seconds, we barely noticed them. I told you about the cancer. I called your friends and told them, drove to your apartment and pulled the shades up and down twice a day, washed your clothes, checked your mail, read the tabloids to you, and waited. You do the dying, I’ll do the rest.

While you were dying, we talked about the weather, the Kennedy’s, the royal family, Bill Clinton, neighborhood gossip, and the University where we worked together-me a teacher, you a server in the cafeteria-seven years of education separating us. I forgot about the cancer occasionally, we both did.

While you were dying, I wrote you a thousand and one-half poems in three days. They all started like this one. Suddenly, I wanted to remember everything-the shift of my weight against your hip as I sat at your bedside, the cold of your hand, the sound of your labored breath, the creak of the bed rail, the beep of the IV, I hung onto all of it, wallpapered my brain with my last images of you and lived in that room for weeks.

The sun fell faster than it had in days, like it was dropping from the sky with no purpose. The weathermen talked about the cold snap. Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe had just become Robert Patti Bluestar, and you were gone. I couldn’t bear to read anymore. I imagine they still live at 160 Hall Street. I imagine Robert still stringing the beaded curtain and Patti still fanning through art books. Between the tattered black covers of their story is where you will die forever.

While you were dying, I wrote you a thousand and one-half poems in three days. They all ended like this one.

gram

For the first six years of your lives, your birthday was a joyous occasion. I help parties, crafted invitations like a Pinterest mom, baked you cakes, and bought you toys. Your daddy came home from work, painted us with kisses, and tickled your soft bellies until your laughter rained on us. We had a normal life. We had good days and good years, and the promise of a better tomorrow. When I asked you either of you what you wanted to be when you grew up you answered through crooked smiles and missing teeth: artist, teacher, singer, painter.

Then, the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School happened. You had just turned six two days prior, and one of you-Samantha-was home sick. The news broke that a shooting had occurred in a school. Having lived through Columbine as a college student, Virginia Tech as a young adult, I had weathered these types of events before in this country, and I’m embarrassed to say that I gave little mind to the headlines when they started to pop up across the TV screen.

Your fever climbed, your cheeks burst into red, and the network news anchor was breaking into our regularly scheduled programming. I will never forget that moment, the sippy cup of ice water in my left hand, a damp washcloth in the right, I stood motionless as I watched lines, ropes of screaming children being led from their elementary school by even more distraught adults. I steadied myself against the wall and watched as we learned of the dead, the massacred, the innocent.

“I wasn’t sure how the parents of those slain children would go on, but I thought maybe, no I was certain of it, I was sure that we would pull together as a country and help them through this.”

Hours later, the names started pouring in, floating across our TV screens like a fog. I did what every parent in America did that day: I hugged you both like it would be the last time. I held you against me until I was afraid you would melt.  I held you to fill the void for those parents, all of those parents in Newtown who would never see their babies again. I called my mom with a sob in my voice I had never felt before. I don’t know what to do with this, I cried, this pain is unbearable. I wanted somewhere to put the anguish, a jar with a tight lid that would never open again. If I feel this way, I thought, I cannot imagine what those poor parents are feeling. I wasn’t sure how the parents of those slain children would go on, but I thought maybe, no I was certain of it, I was sure that we would pull together as a country and help them through this.

I thought that day was the hardest. But I was wrong. The hardest part of the Sandy Hook Massacre for parents around the world was ever trusting that our children would be safe in school-ever again. The next morning, it was all I could do not to keep you home. What if there’s a copycat? What if someone tries it here? What if? What if?  But Daddy insisted, we keep going, keep moving forward. That morning, there were more parents outside of the school than usual.  I will never forget letting you walk through those doors again. I stood there, with at least a dozen mothers and fathers, just watching you with tears streaming down our cheeks.

I thought that day was the hardest. But I was wrong again. The hardest part came in the days, weeks, and even years afterwards, when-despite twenty children and six adults being murdered in an elementary school by a lone gunman-we as a country continue to fail them and you by doing nothing.  There have been efforts made by many, the strong voices in a choir of ignorance, singing out for justice, for help, for empathy, but the choir is loud and those voices are drowning by themselves.

Your birthday has never been the same for me. Not because the events of that day overshadow your life, I don’t want them to. But because I can never give you what you truly deserve on your birthday and every day in between, and that is a safe place in this world.  I can’t yet say to you that a really bad thing happened and we fixed it, or at least tried to make it better. Instead, the deaths of those 20 children have made our world less safe, and now a simple trip to Target or the mall is a risk. Your birthday has never been the same because I have never been the same. I have failed you, the country has failed you, and I don’t know what to do to make it right.

At night, even now, I close my eyes sometimes and imagine the fear and panic those who died and those who survived experienced in those classrooms. It haunts me. I look at parents walking through the streets with a gun tucked in their belt and a first-grader on their arm, and I wonder how on earth you can reconcile the two? I think about the 52 parents in Newtown who are celebrating the holidays with one less person at their table this year. It’s unimaginable that you will grow up in this world, that you will fear taking your kids-my grandchildren-to school, that you will be in a crowded space and have your heart pound out of your chest because someone bursts through a door or moves in a way that could signal terror.

On your birthday, my sweet babies, and every day, I am sorry my voice isn’t strong enough, but I pray every single day that it will be heard.

Mommy

******

To help: Please consider donating today to either of these groups:

Moms Demand Action 

Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence12365995_886863594764895_674355557877059667_o

The MOST amazing thing happened to me last night. As a mom, we often operate unnoticed hoping our love will be enough even if they can’t see it. But, last night, I learned that Samantha sees it, as she remembered something from many years ago.

I wrote a little bit about it.

Noise

Our life together is loud.  Work, homework, school, lunches, backpacks, permission slips, book reports, library days, gym days, art days, dinner, clean-up, gym time, me time, reading time, tubby time, and bedtime are the static. I search for a loose thread, something to pull on to slow the speed, but our daily tasks still orbit us with urgency.

Then last night, you are sick. Mommy, you beg, please put me to bed. Lay with me. Comfort me.

I pull the nest of your brown hair to my chest and hum a song I have hummed a million times when you were a baby, but haven’t done so in close to five years. The notes are automatic, like they’ve been buried inside of me just waiting to be uncovered. They cling together and form the melody of your infancy. Suddenly, with the glow of the nightlight holding us in the darkness, you begin to join me. Note for note, exactly right. This tune, this song, it is an echo of our life together.

“You know that song baby girl?” I ask welling with tears.

“Yes, you used to hum it while you rubbed our backs at night.”

With those words a bomb explodes inside of me as I remember the fleece of your onsie pajamas under the palm of my hand.

And all of the noise is gone.

And all that is left is a soft lullaby.

One.

The initial attraction. The idea of being an adjunct is too attractive for an unemployed MFA candidate to ignore. The promise of teaching a course, of being a conduit for change, of belonging to a brilliant network of academics is worth the meager compensation. Just like Aaron’s blue eyes, in that first moment when he brushed up against my too tight skirt in a nameless bar one summer night. He ordered a Miller Light, and as the bartender handed him the sweaty bottle, Aaron grinned and breathed into my ear, “You want one?” I was young and newly divorced, and the promise of him and a few more Miller Lites was more than I could resist.

Two.

The self-loathing. Every semester, as I agree to two, three, four, seven courses at sometimes less than $2,000 a pop, I am ashamed. I should stand up for myself, I think. I feel the space between my ribs fill with righteous indignation. I should do something about this, start a revolution, and demand proper compensation and access to benefits. I am the downtrodden coalminer of my generation, a Triangle factory floor girl, a Selma marcher, I think to myself as I’m sipping my Venti Latte from Starbucks.

Aaron’s bed was a nest filled with down: pillows, comforter, and blankets. It was the cushion for my falling into him, night after night, even though I promised my very best friend that I wouldn’t. Every weekend I steeled myself for our inevitable run-in. I will stand up to him, I will resist the tug of my skirt, the pull of his pink lips and fair skin, the lure of the free beer and mediocre sex. But there I was again, my breath a cavern of last night’s poor judgment, my clothes wrinkled and lifeless on the floor, my self-respect nowhere to be found.

Three.

The grey area. One night, after we had been sleeping together for months, Aaron introduced me to a friend of his as his “colleague.” Colleague? I didn’t even know he had a job. He just seemed to appear at night, at the bar. The inner workings of his life: details like where he worked, his favorite color, his astrological sign, his last name, all of that was information that would reveal itself once we started officially dating. Once I become the girlfriend.

My presence is not required at faculty meetings, in fact, I’m not allowed inside the room where real decisions are made. I’m not invited to department lunches, asked for opinions about texts or curriculum, or even allowed to take a class to further my scholarship. I have to pay for parking, am not allowed to use the fitness facilities, and my name is seldom included on inter-department emails. I exist in a void

Four.

The resentment. When Aaron and I first started whatever it was we were doing, I would sometimes surprise him with a blow job late at night, after I’ve slept for an hour or two and woke up in a still-drunk haze. He appreciated this. But, months later, his calloused hands (maybe he’s a construction worker?) would push my head into his waist like he was planting me into the rich soil of his groin. Soon, there were no more surprises.

I’m walking past a well-decorated faculty office, the light from inside looks almost divine. The shadows of two tenured professors dance in the doorway. One complains about teaching four courses this semester. The other mentions the word overload. I make copies of my syllabus on the office copy machine. This year I will teach twelve classes at four different colleges, and make less than $30,000. One night, I spread my college ID badges out across a sticky wooden table at our bar, they were a patchwork quilt of inadequacy. Aaron laughed and slugged his beer. Inside of me there was a fire smouldering.

Five.

The messy ending. On a random Monday morning, Aaron stopped answering his phone. I called him three times a day for three weeks. I felt the burn of his phone number on my fingertips while I slept. I missed the nest. I missed his hands on the back of my skull in the darkness. I missed the promise of girlfriend.

Just like I miss the promise of faculty. I have the wrong three letters after my name. I don’t have enough publishing experience. I went to the wrong school, studied the wrong discipline, and made the wrong choices. I’m not good enough for a full-time slot. I’m not good enough for dental insurance. I’m not good enough for tenure. I’m not good enough for Aaron.

My students remember me, write me letters years later thanking me. You made me a writer, one letter says. These are the right letters, the letters that smell like honey, like Aaron on a warm summer night. This is what keeps me coming back.

Two weeks ago-yes it has taken me that long to recover from this incident-I brought my 8-year-old twin daughters to Target for an impromptu shopping trip. As we were sitting in the cafe’ chomping on a very salty soft pretzel, one of my daughters asked me who I thought would grow up to be fat, her or her twin.  Puzzled, I choked down the ICEE I was slurping and asked her why she thought one of them would be fat. Why would you think such a thing? She looked at me, slightly embarrassed, and said softly, “well, because Daddy is skinny, and you’re…not.”

iceeBefore you jump to the conclusion that my daughter is a jerk, let me just say this: I am fat. I have always struggled with my weight, and when I had finally gotten to a point where I was happy with my body, I was blessed with a twin pregnancy. The road back from that birth has not been easy, as most mothers will attest. Being a mom consumes you, and one day you realize that you haven’t really cared for yourself in that way in a really long time. Or, maybe that’s a nice, convenient excuse, I don’t know anymore. All I know is my daughter’s words hit me like a freight train, not because they hurt my feelings-I’ve been called a lot worse-but because her words opened my eyes to this: My daughters have no idea what makes people fat. They have no clue how to keep caloric intake down, which foods linger longer than others, or any of the other helpful and necessary information they need to help control their weight as adults, and you know what? It’s all my fault.

After having read 95,888,888 articles about how we as women are destroying one another with words, or how mothers can imprint their body image issues onto their young, I issued a moratorium on the word “fat” pretty early on. My daughters have never heard me say it, and thankfully have never heard anyone call me by that moniker. I’ve never weighed myself in front of them, or even uttered the word “diet.” I’m pretty strict about what they eat, and try my best to model “good behavior” and “self-control.” But now, here I was faced with a teaching moment, and I couldn’t help but think of it this way- In the effort to prevent future self-loathing, am I setting my daughters up for an unhealthy lifestyle? Would it be the end of the world if my daughter knew that sugary drinks and candy make you fat? So here’s what I said:

“You’re right honey, Mommy is a little fat.  But, I’m working on eating healthy and exercising so that I can be healthier. That’s why Mommy doesn’t eat a lot of junk food.”

I don’t know what I expected. But what I got was a crooked little smile and a quick story about some Minecraft video they had watched earlier that day. My other daughter wasn’t even paying attention.

Look, I don’t know what the answer is, how to shape the outcome of my daughter’s self-image. All I know is, I tend to lean towards no information being on par with misinformation. I want my daughter to love her body, and to accept whatever shape or form it may take, but I also want her to be healthy and to work towards being healthy as an adult. Not skinny, healthy. And I believe it is my job as Mommy to make sure she has all of the information she needs to make the best possible decision she can.

An excerpt from the new book I’m working on:

You are dying. We are driving home from a car dealership in a nearby town, when suddenly- your leg starts to thump, that’s how I know. It’s my signal, my auditory cue. The thumping starts slowly and softly at first, like a slow clap. Your body begins to rock, slightly. Streetlights click on around us and the orange of the sunset dims to pink. We are in the dark.

“You need to get me home,” you say.

“I know, I know,” I answer and press down on the gas pedal.

But my acceleration and half-hearted assurances cannot stop the madness in your veins. The streetlights are streaks now as I speed down Route Six and into Scranton.

“Please, please, get me home, I need to go home.”

“I’m trying, Babe, I’m trying,” I say.

I reach out for you and you pull. You cling to me like I am air. It becomes hard to drive, and I think about pulling over against the blackness of the woods lining the shoulder, but time is of the essence and I know I need to go on. We need to move forward.

“I’m dying, I’m dying, please help me.” Four years earlier, this phrase would have alarmed me, sent me into a panic as well, but I’m becoming familiar with your death, and I react like a woman who has left something in the oven too long.

“You’re not dying honey, you’re not. It will be okay, I’m getting you home. Close your eyes, take a breath.”

Amazingly, you attempt this.

“I can’t,” you snap, “I think I’m having a heart attack.”

It’s either the heart or the head, always, a heart attack or a brain tumor, I prepare for both.

heartbeat[1]_3“Here, let me check.” I slide my right hand across the fabric of your shirt. My touch is magical, it calms you. The thumping slows, the pumping of your blood under my palm is the only sound in the world right now.

“One, two, three,” I count aloud as the car wisps around darkening corners.

This is our song, the thumping, the push of blood against arterial walls, the rush of your breath, the hush of my voice. This is the rhythm of us, the melody between us.

There was a time when I thought our song was Heaven, by Bryan Adams. We made out to it in the back seat of your friend’s car about a week after we started dating. You pushed your tongue hard into my mouth and cupped my face with your large hands. It was early spring, and the windows fogged easily. A boy had never kissed me like that before, with such desperation. But the song disintegrated quickly, and we forgot the heat of that night. Now, our song is medicinal, born out of fear and need, much like the story of us.

“Seventy-four,” I land on a final number as the headlights swipe across the front of our apartment building. We are home and your heart rate is normal.

Later that night, we curl into bed together, a rarity in our lives. But your panic has been especially bad in the weeks and months following the terror attacks, and you’ve needed me, even at night. For a long time after the towers fell, we watched together as the news channels played an endless loop of horror: planes into towers, towers disintegrating into dust, people running from dust, a plume of smoke and dust rising from the belly of Manhattan. That’s what I remember the most: the dust. But these images bother you. The worst part is the falling, you tell me one night while we are wrapped together in bed. My hand still covering the space where I believe your heart to be. Those people jumping, that is the worst. Your heart quickens and the room darkens around us. Now, we watch old game shows to calm your panic. Your heart is slow and steady like the dripping of a faucet, and I lay pressed against you like a dam.

“I’m so sorry,” you whisper one night and pull my arms around you.

“For what?”

“For being so fucked up.”

“You’re not fucked up,” I whisper, “you’re perfect.”

Did I really say that? If I didn’t, I’m sorry, I should have. The jumping bothered everyone. I should have said that too.

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