Carly Heiser


“Is this what you want? Is this what you expected after you left that neat little stack of legal bullshit on the kitchen table this morning, you prick?”

Mrs. Stevens lit all of her husband’s things on fire in their front lawn on my 8th birthday. I wasn’t mad. I guess I thought it was like a bon fire until Mr. Stevens had Mrs. Stevens arrested. We all came out of my backyard to the smell of burning plastic. My mom asked politely what Mrs. Stevens was doing and she replied with “Divorcing this fucker the hard way.” Mom made me go back inside. Eventually Mr. Stevens showed up and wasted no time in calling the cops or letting his wife know how “batshit crazy” he thoughts she was.

“Fine, you do that! You call them! Tell them to pick you up an extra set of balls before they get here, too!”

I wish I wanted to get married. Whenever my mother asks about it, though, all I can do is think about all of that stuff smoldering on the lawn. His shoes melted to the grass. The Stevens opened my eyes like no birds and bees talk ever could. Up until that point, I thought all adults made sense. I thought you couldn’t eat whatever you wanted for breakfast. I thought cats needed collars. After Mrs. Stevens got hauled away by the cops, flipping two birds at her husband while all my 8-year-old friends and I watched, I learned that nobody really gives a shit what you eat for breakfast. I learned that cats don’t need collars.

“I’ll never forgive you for this, Tom, you bastard!”

I don’t know if I believe in love. I guess when I say it like that I must not. But I like to think that not knowing if you’re in love is like breathing in your sleep: you don’t have to realize it, you just have to know it happens on its own. If I ever do meet a person who isn’t irrevocably shitty, I’ll tell him I love him. Then he can either marry me or I’ll get knocked up so he’ll feel bad and marry me anyway. If I don’t do any of that, I might just be able to keep my lawn nice.

“I’ll see you in hell, motherfucker!”

Euphemism Campus Box 4240 Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240