national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014

This Is All I Know

Morgan Thomas  • 
University of Florida

With practice, two people can sleep in a single bed without touching. New-car-scented candles only cost two dollars a pop if you buy in bulk from the manufacturer. A new smell won’t save a marriage, whatever Granny says. If you want him to come after you, leave in his mustang. Crying won’t get you out of a traffic ticket. Taking off your shirt won’t get you out of a traffic ticket. A mustang can go eighty miles with red Kool-aid in the radiator before the engine starts to smoke. Sometimes, he still won’t come. Walking six miles in Mary Janes hurts. Crying won’t get you a discount on your motel room. Dialing his number on the pay phone hurts. Past thirteen, nobody cares if you’re sorry. Vending machines won’t take Monopoly money, not even the orange five-hundred. Taking your shirt off will get you a discount on your motel room. New radiators go for three hundred bucks. Used radiators sticky with Kool-aid go for fifty if you know how to sell them. Two hours home—black leather seats and silence—burns like the easy-bake center of the earth. Working it out is a single lit candle on the dinner table, is sharing silence, is letting the candlewick char down to plastic and feather smoke, giving us the ghost.