The other day I saw an old friend. She said, ‘How are you?’ I said, ‘I’m good. How are you?’ She said, ‘I’m good, too.’ Then we went our separate ways.


BY JENNIFER NGUYEN

 

Alternate title: Don’t always choose death

A

friend’s father’s moonshine rearranges my insides, makes me vomit up the sun. Things I don’t understand frustrate me. Things I don’t understand placate me. World peace was not achieved just because one side said ‘I quit’. Mercy in practice is a spectrum. I mean, a spectacle. The best and worst case scenario is not the same for me as it is for you.

I was hungry so I baked shoestring fries with kimchi, jalapeños and low-fat mozzarella cheese. I ate some and despised myself. A diet tip I received (but never followed) was to eat a donut while facing a mirror.

Once, an apple I bit into had a worm and my Uncle said that’s how you know it’s healthy :) Once, I had a dream where every nerve in my body unravelled to make a giant worm made up of thousands of worms stuck together, human centipede style.

My Doctor sighs when he sees me because of my long list of things wrong with me and the fact that his appointments are backed up by an hour meaning he’ll either have a late lunch or miss it altogether. I ask the receptionist if I can see a female doctor instead and she scoffs rolls her eyes saying, ‘It was a male doctor that delivered all four my children. What are you, embarrassed?’ Not at all, I say. It’s true I’m not. I tell her, I’m simply looking for someone to understand all the bad poetry I write. She says that’d make a good Tinder bio. I tell her that’s where I got the line from and that actually, it makes a terrible Tinder bio. Afterwards I got in my car and drove home not crying but also crying a little.

I cannot look at myself in the mirror for fear of seeing a hair where society deems hair shouldn’t be. Someone in my creative writing class states they will not eat anything that is shaped like a circle. I wondered why that might be. I thought about the things I refused to eat and found the list to end before it began, mostly for fear of getting my ass handed to me by my Mother. My shellfish allergy is strangely quiet especially when guests are around and she is showing off her lobster, abalone and oyster recipes.

Here is the list of things I’m supposed to eat that I looked up by googling ‘What to eat if you have PCOS’: dark, leafy greens, soy milk, tofu, nuts and seeds, healthy fats and oils, fish, meat, veggies and other unrefined foods.

McCain recently brought out a new frozen pizza. Sourdough. $3.75 though I swear the other day day the sign read $3.50. I cooked some up and told my current friend with benefits that I ordered Gradi off Uber Eats. She believed me, but when she took a bite I saw in her eyes she knew it was all lies.


 
 

About the author

Jennifer Nguyen is a member of West Writers Group. She is a fiction editor for Rambutan Literary and editorial mentee at Djed Press. Previously, she was a creative producer for Emerging Writers’ Festival 2017. Her poetry, fiction and non-fiction has appeared in Pencilled In, Bowen Street Press Review, RABBIT and online at The Regal Fox. Twitter @jennifer_ngyn

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