(trigger warning: mention of self-harm/threats to kill)
I don’t remember everything.
But I do remember having a funeral for my pet pencil Henry in the fifth grade.
I wore a dress and brought flowers.
The kids laughed, and they knew my name.
And I do remember cutting my wrists in the seventh grade—the guidance counselor called you.
I know you know.
The boys knew, too. They paid attention.
You just told me not to do it again.
Sometimes, you’d ask me to expose my wrists, just to make sure.
Then, we’d continue our shallow car ride chats.
And I do remember asking you to see a movie with me.
“Please. Please. Please”, I begged.
I remember it was spring break.
You said too much money; I said I’d pay.
I ate left over Easter Polish Sausage and downloaded my first porn video on the family
And I do remember going to see a movie with a boy while I was dating a different boy.
I don’t remember any of the actual movie titles.
It was 2008, and at least two boys knew my name.
Two boys wanted to go to a movie with me.
Not even a year later, a boy tried to kill me.
And I do remember father’s day of 2012, crying on the floor of my bedroom closet.
You agreed. Dad was an asshole for not wanting to hang out with me.
I gifted him a handle of Korbel; I suppose that was all he needed.
And I certainly remember a year later when you denied this event, told me I
I don’t remember you listening.
Once, I was telling you of The Declaration of Independence, Kanye West, and Of Mice and Men,
one of my first teaching units, but you left mid-sentence.
At times, I’ve wrote you off as the cool mom.
“My mom signs off on my assignment notebook for the entire year—she doesn’t ever
oversee my homework!”
I did the homework, I got straight As, and I graduated summa cum laude.
But not because you were the cool mom.
You were never a cool mom.
I never had a mom.
I don’t remember you in the audience while I was handed my diploma for a Masters of
But I do remember watching Gilmore Girls, thinking that a Rory and Lorelai relationship could
only be found on TV.
If Rory turned out gay, I’m sure Lorelai would still attend her graduation.
And I do remember you: your cynical footsteps and your looks of disapproval.
I don’t remember a mom.
I never had one.
Sarah Grey (she/her) has been featured in Thrillist for Milwaukee event calendars as well as Red Fez Publications for her short story, “Eggs Break”. She’s taught English at Carroll University and Brookfield Central High School. Currently, she’s a contributing editor for Red Fez Publications but gets paid for making cocktails and selling eyeglasses. Her girlfriend Katie and their dog Juniper frequent adventures in this unstable world.