Every quarterback was named Steve.
Every cheerleader, Jennifer.
The captain of the baseball team? John.
She didn’t see the overwhelming whiteness, the sameness, of her town until she opened her eyes in another country.
She’d never been to another state before and here she was, three flights later, in a foreign land, as her mother would call it.
But she was the foreigner, unable to understand what the family was saying, her boyfriend translating every so often.
Her boyfriend with the difficult name, her mother called him, refusing to learn how to pronounce it.
As if he was named that just to cause trouble.
She imagined her mother arriving here for breakfast. Sniffing at the blood sausage, cheese spread and bitter coffee the family offered.
Unlike her mother, she dove into the food and the flow of words, grateful there was more to the world than what she’d always known.
Jen McConnell (she/her) writes fiction and poetry. Her work has appeared recently in Hindsight Magazine, The Louisville Review, Reflex Press and What Rough Beast. Her first collection of stories, "Welcome, Anybody," was published by Press 53 in 2012 and she’s finishing the second one as fast as she can. Twitter: @jentheauthor