In the morning she ate her cereal dry, leaning over her bowl, picking
the raisins out with her tongue, then smashing the bran until it was
powder, adding a little milk and making rows of muddy bran until the
bottom of her bowl looked like a tiny farm, freshly plowed and ready to be
planted. When she tipped the bowl to slurp up the rows, she did it loudly,
like a farm animal, looking at her mother’s fiancé, who always stood
making or drinking his coffee in the kitchen, grimacing at her, waiting
for the day he could say something.
In school she ripped paper out of her spiral notebook. She liked to
tear it fast, to hear the sound it made. Then she spent a long time
cleaning the edges of the paper, pulling the frayed pieces off and making
a pile on her desk. After the edges were all removed, she worked on the
tiny scraps left in the rings. She did this while the teacher talked. When
she got called on to answer a question, she said, "Excuse me," and walked
her shredded paper pieces to the trash.
In the afternoon she played in the backyard, pulling Bermuda grass up
by the roots, which isn’t easy to do. She had to dig her nails down into
the ground and get a good hold of the base. If the stalk was going to
break off, she could feel it, and she’d dig down lower. She liked the pop,
the feeling of release as all the roots came up with damp dark dirt
clinging to tiny veins. When she’d cleared a small circle, big enough to
dance in, she danced a few steps, then got the rake and raked patterns in
the dirt. Straight lines, curved lines, checks.
On Saturday, when her mother got married, she pulled the thin line of
lace from along the hem of her dress while the preacher spoke. Then she
ran her fingers the wrong direction up the deep green velvet of her dress
in long strokes from her thighs to her shoulders. It made her dress
crackle with static, her fingers charged with electricity. She looked down
at the lines, running her hands flat to erase them, her dress a blank
slate once again, then a new set of lines, a new pattern. All through the
service she made and remade the green landscape of her body.
Micaela Myers received her MFA in writing from Vermont College.
She lives in Lake Forest, California, with her fiancé, Joe, and her pony,
Berry. Her work has appeared in the River Oak Review and is
forthcoming in Short Story.