Image by Emily Jay (emily-jay.com)
I didn’t want to go anywhere / now look at me / I was so sick of those coders who never got to be frat boys living out their lost bromances over the office ping-pong table and kegerator / Open office floor plans are the devil / I hated having to tell them to stop saying stupid shit to the female developers / like to the one black girl, how many times can I say don’t say anything about your co-workers’ hair, ever / HR is not your friend / I didn’t want to be any of their friends / now look at me / I should measure these walls to see if they are getting closer / I haven’t been outside in a week / I think I accidentally flirted with the Instacart girl / I haven’t been touched in months / I think if someone ran their hands along my body I would spark like static electricity / After the last bad date I said never again / now look at me / My parents are aging faster than I ever imagined & I can’t go see them / Maybe they just don’t know how to turn on the “improve appearance” option on Zoom / I never wished for a brother or sister / I liked getting all the attention, knowing I was loved best by default / My greatest fear is saying goodbye to them on an ipad or not at all / or being found dead alone in my apartment partially eaten by my cats / actually that was my greatest fear before, too / When I was in college, if I answered my phone on a weekend, my mom would say staying at home on a Saturday night? / now look at me
Stephanie King is a past winner of the Quarterly West Novella Prize and the Lilith Short Fiction Prize, with stories also appearing in CutBank, Entropy, and Hobart. She received her MFA from Bennington and serves on the board of the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. You can find her online at stephanieking.net or Twitter @stephstephking.