Excerpt from “Youth in Jars”
“Do you ever see someone and think “God, they look old”,” Sophie said.
“Yes!” Hannah said.
“I was watching a show yesterday,” Sophie said. “And the actress on there looked a rough 45. I didn’t recognize her, so I looked her up. And do you know what I found? She was born the same year as me.”
“And she looked 45?” said Hannah.
“A rough 45. Meaning she could have been 50.”
“But she was born the same year as you?”
“Ten months after me, to be exact.”
“What show was this?”
“Inconsequential. But it got me wondering: what if I look old to other people?”
“Ohhh. That is not a good feeling.”
“I’m not going to lie,” said Sophie, “it’s not great.”
“Which phase are you in now?” said Hannah.
“What are my options?”
“Spiraling or fixating.”
“Ah. I am in a controlled spiral of fixation. If I had to define it.”
“I don’t know what that means.”
“I am trying to renovate my entire lifestyle.”
“So you joined another gym?”
Excerpt from “Health or Food”
Sam was thinking about sleep. On his back, with heavy lids. Molly smiled at the idea of Sleep presenting a debate in his brain, while Awake lost its half of the debate. She climbed into the crib with Sam, circling her arm around his head allowed her to rest hers on her shoulder as well. He didn’t move. She flipped the tab of his onesie zipper up and down; and thought about the scar that ran underneath it. There were cables underneath the scar. All following the line of this zipper.
His chest rose and fell. Familiar anxieties bubbled up, as she thought of his heart. It had already stopped once. They stopped it. The surgeon, and their team. After slicing into his soft skin, and cutting into his sternum. She remembered going to the first appointment at the cardiologist’s office.
When they told her what the surgery entailed, she’d point- ed just to the left of center on Sam’s chest and said, “This is his first freckle. Do you think the surgeon could not cut it?”
The nurse had been kind, and said “He’ll just have to make more, but I don’t think the surgeon will be able to miss that one.”
When she’d gotten to see Sam after his surgery, she held his hand while she looked at the black sutures against his skin. She noticed that his freckle was still there. Just to the left of the line. She’d never met the surgeon before the surgery, so she was never sure if it was just coincidence or if the nurse had told the surgeon’s nurse, and the surgeon abided.