Teaching my (step)sister to smoke in the Taco Bell parking lot
We smoked first, remember? I thought the tacos would cover our breath, rolled the windows of the Mustang down, opened the moon roof to look at the stars. We were so young, then – summer before your junior year. I’d just bought my first Docs, wore baby doll dresses. Looking at the sky, I wondered if this was sisterhood, if we finally melted our lives together, if I had a shred of what you had with your blood sister–if the Marlboros, the tacos, the sky, the way we passed our cigarette back and forth–if this was sisters but no, it wasn’t the smoking, it was the drive-thru fight when I forgot the mild sauce, when I backed up the car, when I nearly hit the car behind us, the way you yelled and laughed, it was later when you rocked my daughter through the night while I slept nearby, exhausted, it was later still when you packed up your life to move home after we learned our father was dying, it was in the ICU when we shared earbuds the night before we said goodbye to him, the way our heads came together, tethered, hospital curtains open, the way the stars remained.
Monica Fuglei (she/her) currently teaches in the Department of Composition, Creative Writing and Journalism at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, Colorado. A 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has recently appeared in Mason Street Review, a thin slice of anxiety, and The Hidden Peak Review. When she’s not writing or teaching, she’s usually knitting or tweeting on #AcademicTwitter.