1. My mother and I are sitting on the floor of the room that will be Stephen’s one day, but he’s not born yet, so it’s my playroom, with a play kitchen set and two little chairs, and a table full of paper and crayons. I’m making requests and my mother is drawing them in a spiral notebook, in magic marker. She’s sitting tailor-fashioned, and I’m lying on my stomach, chin in my hands, the carpet against my bare legs. I say, “Draw a wishing well, with a girl next to it,” and I watch her draw the rounded gray stones steadily, without making a mistake. She’s drawn an arm, and a girl’s hand with red fingernails, when the phone rings, and she drops the marker and runs to the other room. I can tell by her voice, sweet and low, that it’s my dad, calling from the office. I rest my head on my outstretched arm next to the spiral and lie there, looking at the wishing well, hearing the murmur of my mother’s voice from the next room. She never finishes the drawing. It’s in the back of that spiral notebook in with my art supplies for years. They’d been married for almost ten years at that point, but she still jumped for the phone like a girl in love.
2. Laura is driving me home from the party. It’s been four weeks since I broke up with him, and I’m still too relieved not to have to go home to a fight to miss him. Every Friday and Saturday night, we all go to the bar, where we fill the jukebox with the Ramones and tell stories and sometimes kiss each other in the bathroom stalls, going home alone and passing out in jeans stiff with cigarette smoke. But this night, we follow another boy’s white car to a party after the bar closes, and then sit in a stranger’s dark living room, watching him talk to another girl. Someone turns on a red light and I’m suddenly angry, ready to leave. Laura drives around my block several times, both of us singing along to the same song on repeat, me crying and spitting out the words. When I finally go inside, I don’t even bother to lock my front door. It’s made of glass anyway.
3. It’s early July, I’m twenty-five, and he and I are skinny-dipping late at night at someone else's house. The surface of the water is violet, the ripples black, no moon. The day was so warm that the water feels like a bath, but there’s a breeze and honeysuckle overhead. We are up against the stone wall in the corner, and the broken tiles scrape my skin. Afterwards, I float in the middle of the deep end on my back, arms outstretched, eyes to the sky, until I nearly fall asleep. Years later, late at night on the phone, he asks me if I remember this night, and says, “You were like steam on the water… I kept trying to breathe you in.” I blink in the darkness of my bedroom, surprised to realize that he was there.