SmokeLong Quarterly

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Story by Hailey Sowden (Read author interview) December 15, 2006

You’re 12 now, nothing but skinniness, clinging to you, everywhere.

She knocks on your door. She never knocks. She walks in and you feel her inhale you, take you in. You see your skinny arms and legs all balled up with that air in the crying spot in her throat. Something’s wrong.

You smile, say, “Mom, did you get your hair cut?”

She looks right on through your words, “Honey, we have to talk.”

Something’s wrong.

“I really like it.”

“Honey, it’s important.”

Something’s wrong.

“Laynie, baby,”

“Where did you get it done?”

“Your father’s dead.”

And it’s real quiet now.

Those words slide out of one corner of her mouth, with that crusty sleep still stuck on the edges of them. The air is too thin, too skinny to hold those thick words up, can’t do it alone, so they just slip to the floor. You look at those words, dead on, stare holes through them; pretend you know what they mean. You don’t. You kick those words with your skinny big toe, look up, say, “The new haircut, it really suits your face.”

About the Author

Hailey Sowden is a high school freshman in Dallas, Texas. She lives with her mom, dad, brother, and dog. She enjoys playing both the piano and guitar, drawing and sketching, playing competetive tennis, and writing.

This story appeared in Issue Fifteen of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Fifteen

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