by Janice Leagra
Maybe you knew it when I was three and still wearing diapers and you were convinced that I was either doing it out of spite or because I loved walking around in my own piss. Or maybe you knew it when I was in second grade and Kathy Davenport wrote a letter in beautiful cursive to the president and he wrote back to her, but I got an F in penmanship. Then again, maybe it was when I was 13 and still didn’t need a bra, even though Megan Higbee not only wore one, but also started her period when she was nine. Maybe it was when Megan invited me to her fourteenth birthday party because you and her mom were in the garden club together and I forgot her gift in the car and you hoped I was happy that you’d have to make excuses for me to Mrs. Higbee. Or perhaps it was when I started applying to colleges and decided to major in psychology and you hoped I didn’t think I’d actually be able to do anything with that degree. Or maybe it was during spring break of my sophomore year when I noticed a lump in my breast and I didn’t mention it to you until I got the results back from the doctor and you told me I should have gone to the same doctor that Elaine Murphy went to because who knew what kind of quack I’d picked out for myself. It could have been when I had to drop out of school for the rest of the semester to start treatment, and you’d just known something like that would happen. Or it might have been when the doctor told us that the treatment hadn’t worked and I eventually had to go to hospice and you had to cancel that last trip to the coast and the hotel wouldn’t refund the money. Or perhaps it was when the nurse called you while you were in the middle of dinner at the new French restaurant that took weeks to get into, to tell you that the time was near. Or maybe it was when you were at my bedside, holding my hand, and you thought that that would be as good a time as any to tell me that you loved me, but I didn’t hear you because I was already gone. I think it may have been then when you finally knew for sure that I would always disappoint you.
Janice Leagra is an American writer and artist. Her writing has appeared in Spelk, Ellipsis Zine, Bending Genres, et. al. She was shortlisted for the 2017 Bridport Prize for Flash Fiction and has been a Best of the Net nominee. Her artwork has appeared on the cover of Cabinet of Heed, Atticus Review, and several books. She is Visual Editor for Splonk and Founding Editor of Janus Literary. Find her on Twitter @janiceleagra.