A Care in the World

by | Jun 11, 2024 | Fiction, Issue Thirty-Nine

I don’t care that I got into Big Ivy with a full ride, or State with a Merit. I don’t care that grandpa came here with nothing but made something of himself by avoiding low company or that gramma was Gamma Beta or that mom runs a clinic or that dad fixes the world. I don’t care that bro is a lawyer and sis is a doctor.  I don’t care that I was born to go as wide as dreams could take me with my IQ and my tech savvy and my waist and my eyelashes. I don’t care that I’m graduating at seventeen because I skipped a grade or that the age of consent is eighteen here but it’s sixteen or lower wherever we can drive to in Jeff’s Mazda pickup, with the bashed in passenger door. I don’t care that Jeff likes to show off where his nipple almost got blown off when they kicked him out of the army after he’d had a few. I don’t care what he means by a few. I don’t care that I must wipe off the bottle top because it’s hilarious to drunk up the hogs. I don’t care how mean hogs are, or how the road that leads to his “farm” is a rutted deathtrap. I don’t care that that the only other National Scholar all-star David Mitaski was so desperate after I dropped him that he actually called mom to find out why. I don’t care to relate her response. I don’t care that I used to find David Mitaski cute and smart and someone very knowledgeable about Bay Area 70’s punk. I don’t care that everyone in AP Physics wonders what happened to me. I don’t care that the school shrink messaged me how we should talk and how was I doing. I don’t care to discuss life goals with a grown man who wears a bow tie. I don’t care that Jeff watches me from the plaid couch he accidentally made into two chairs with a chain saw and says baby girl when you stop walking around with a stick up your ass and we get hitched gonna buy you a Beemer like that guy in the movie. I don’t care to know what movie he is referencing. I don’t care that I have no interest in a car driven by German butchers. I don’t care that when Jeff laughs sometimes one of his teeth falls out. I don’t care that I am a virgin unlike so many of my so-called friends. I don’t care that real men spit and fart and can hold a girl so tight a woman starts to come out. I don’t care that crew needs me and can’t get to finals now that I won’t go to practice. I don’t care how on a beautiful day on the lake I got in that accident and went down to the bottom and saw that we are a hair’s breadth from death. I don’t care that I came out of the hospital just fine, with no detectable injury. I don’t care that I sat in the parking lot of Burger King crying and Jeff made me roll down the window and said who just needs to smoke a bowl. I don’t care that I don’t smoke anything. I don’t care that in selfies Jeff looks like someone from the ancient past who was not a gladiator but something they fed to the lions. I don’t care that Jeff came to my family party with a penis bouquet but was too drunk to count out the correct number of balls. I don’t care how after that mom sat by the Cuisinart and cried and dad sat by our labradoodle and cried and I had never seen dad cry before and I was kinda freaked out. I don’t care what has happened to me that I won’t go down to the pool anymore, or the tennis court or how my heart is like that little ball dad taught me to kick when I was seven which was ten years ago and I was so good at that game. I don’t care that I can never remember it had the name hacky-sack. I don’t care that I don’t know what I’m doing or how it will end. I don’t care that I sit on my bed, in my bedroom where mom always kissed me goodnight and dad made up crazy shadows on my wall when I couldn’t sleep and bro told me he was gay and I held his hand for some reason and sis told me she barfed the last slice and blamed me and was a bad person and I gave her my gold key choker she’d been eyeing while Jeff sits down the road in the Mazda that can’t stop won’t stop primarily because the engine hasn’t been serviced since the early aughts and holds the ring that turned my finger green and waits as I sit and see how moonlight really is kind of beautiful and send some confused thanks to Ms. Markham for having us read the poem by Li Po about wanting the moon and how we will always stagger around alone and how we care anyway and how we care.

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