Kate Garrett

She was not my manic pixie dream girl

A front step is surprisingly comfortable, especially on a Friday night when you’re seventeen and weary with listening to boys assuring other boys their choices aren’t only reasonable, but necessary. He had his heart broken, now he’s on a mission to screw his way through the zodiac / he’s been smoking a bowl then driving his dad’s van again / he’s storing tabs of acid in his mom’s meat freezer, she’ll never know the difference / all of the above. There was no advice I wanted to give, and on the front step I could see the sky, settle into spring next to the girl with wire-rimmed glasses and pixie-short hair and a chin like a butterfly’s. We both had metal lunchbox purses and asocial tendencies. She was smoking Marlboro lights and I almost spoke to her about how I’d seen her at school today, but I couldn’t, because even though she was the new kid, I mistook the way she wore her anxiety for arrogance. She offered me a cigarette and I refused. Instead I said I liked her shoes. She said she liked my shirt, a shirt that belonged to my mother at seventeen, a shirt three years older than my body and thin enough to see through. And then we said nothing, too scared to snap this pod of precious silence. If not for the house full of boys behind us, we would have figured it out with a kiss. And if we had, things might have been different. I might even remember her name.

Kate Garrett is the founding editor of Three Drops from a Cauldron / Three Drops Press and Picaroon Poetry. Her own work appears in online and print journals, including Rust + Moth, Prole, and Up the Staircase Quarterly, among others. Her next pamphlet, You've never seen a doomsday like it, is forthcoming  in 2017. Kate was born in southwestern Ohio, but at 19 moved to England, where she still lives now with her husband, four children, and a sleepy cat. Find out more about her work at www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk

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