Julia Tausch ~ Kinsley and Charlie

This sto­ry is inspired by and named for the daugh­ters of Amanda Stanton, Minor Star of Bachelor Nation, Year 2016


Our names are Kinsley and Charlie. We are wait­ing for our moth­er to come home.

In Los Angeles, in a man­sion, our moth­er is falling in love with Prince Charming.We are wait­ing for her to come home. Prince Charming’s oth­er name is Ben.

While we wait, we play in our plas­tic cas­tle, our wood­en kitchen. We wait. Our Aunt Jo is here, and she tells us we’re good kids. We know that we are. We’re good, gold­en-haired kids; we are the best.

Ben — Prince Charming — made us bar­rettes. Our moth­er cried when he gave them to her. She cried when she gave them to us because Prince Charming sent her home before the Fantasy Suites. But for now we don’t know that, we just wait and play at wash­ing up.



Our names are Kinsley and Charlie and we are wait­ing for our moth­er to come home.

Prince Charming has been to our house and he has been to our beach. We ran with him, chased seag­ulls around. By the end of the day, we were so very tired. The peo­ple with the cam­eras and the micro­phones and the make­up were nice but they talked all day, all day.

Our moth­er still had her beau­ti­ful, beau­ti­ful voice and her beau­ti­ful, beau­ti­ful hair that she had ombréed to with­in an inch of its life (her words) but she had some­thing new about her, too. A tight­ness. It may have been hope.



 Our names are Kinsley and Charlie and we have nev­er been so thrilled. Our moth­er is home, but not for long! She is going to Paradise and she could not deserve it more.

We leap into bed with her when she hears the news; we cov­er her with kiss­es. Small, short kiss­es with smack­ing sounds. We crawl all around her, fore­head, shoul­ders, shins. Our moth­er — Amanda! — laughs and she laughs, then cries again, tears stream­ing straight into her ears as she stares at the ceil­ing, hold­ing her phone to her chest.

Paradise is where we saw our first French kiss. Aunt Jo let us watch once when our moth­er was away. Shocking! Disgusting! Not what we’d want to see! But we were brave and paid atten­tion, grate­ful to be awake.



Our names are Kinsley and Charlie and we are wait­ing for our moth­er to come home, but we’re used to that now, we real­ly don’t mind. Today we told some kids at our school that our moth­er has been to the Fantasy Suite at long last and it was total bliss and this is The One. Now we are in trou­ble with Aunt Jo. We aren’t get­ting Zoodles for sup­per like she said that we would.



Our names are Kinsley and Charlie and our moth­er has been back home for years. Now she’s almost always close by, adjust­ing the labels and hems of our clothes. We are a goth and a butch respec­tive­ly and our moth­er blames her­self. This is one of the things we scream at her for when we aren’t scream­ing at each oth­er. “It’s noth­ing to do with you, it’s just who we are!” We scream, again and again.

Why now, when we’ve had shock and dis­gust and plea­sure from var­i­ous French kiss­es our­selves? Why now, when we have zits and bloats and pains and yearn­ings? It doesn’t seem fair when she brings it up. It seems this is not in our orbit any more. We are strain­ing against the skin of this past, which is a nor­mal strain and our right as sub­ur­ban American teens.

Strangely, both of us wear our bar­rettes from Prince Charming. We man­age to work them into our respec­tive per­son­al styles almost every day.



Our names are Kinsley and Charlie. It doesn’t mat­ter how long we had to wait. A pro­pos­al is worth every­thing. Don’t try to tell us we suf­fered. Don’t say she was not a good mom. She was doing it all for us and we knew, watch­ing it back, so many times over the years. Our young moth­er, French kiss­ing and drink­ing and cry­ing away. She tried for us, she fought. For us.

We won’t give you spoil­ers now, we won’t spill the beans. Of course there were ups, of course there’s been downs. Do we have edgi­er sens­es of humour than we might have? Frankly, that’s all for the best.

Would she do it again? “Absolutely!” she says, always, when we come home to vis­it from our col­lege towns. But she says it in dif­fer­ent ways.

Aunt Jo might snort, or she might tear up a bit and hold her hand. We might sigh and roll our eyes at each oth­er, sub­tly, so she’ll nev­er see. We might say a lot to reas­sure her, if she’s had two or three glass­es and comes at us with her very soft blouse rich­ly per­fumed with Flowerbomb brush­ing against our cheeks as she press­es us to her.

It was what you need­ed to do, Mom,” we might say, our voic­es over­lap­ping, play-kitchen on our minds, and also our bar­rettes from Ben that will live in our draw­ers for the rest of our lives.

It all depends on the day.


Julia Tausch lives in Toronto with her part­ner and three cats. She wrote the nov­el Another Book About Another Broken Heart and has pub­lished fic­tion and essays in places like Joyland, Vice, Bön Appetit, and The Hairpin. She is cur­rent­ly work­ing on a mem­oir that is tak­ing one mil­lion years to write. You can fol­low her on Twitter here.