A Modest Guide to Truculence/Survival: Girls

by a contributor

Leesa Cross-Smith

HEY, FIRST OFF: Ignore everything. But if you hear only one bird, listen. It could mean something. Wait. I take that back. Ignore everything but the one bird and the pulsing, cracked-white sky. And don’t keep love letters. You can keep some letters, but don’t keep any letters. Never under any circumstances keep a letter unless you want to keep a letter but even then, never do it. Burn letters and ignore everything. Remember what I said about the sky.

RE: BOYS: If you find someone else and you like him enough, let him take your hand and don’t cry.

IMPORTANT! Be super-pretty. Hold that down for the rest of us.

ALSO: You’re not scared of animals, are you?

1. Don’t have a heart attack. 2. When you hear fireworks, look up.

WHO I AM: Me? I’m different. Not bothered with all of that. I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.

ON BEING BOTHERED: Learn to sleep with the windows open, even when there are loud lawnmowers. Even when there are sirens and sirens and sirens and phones ringing and incessant incessants. And goodness gracious learn to make your feet comfortable inside any number of shoes.

PERSONALIZATION: I wouldn’t tell you this stuff if it wasn’t important. You have to trust me on this. I know how you are. You used to put the bus window half-down instead of all the way because you didn’t want the wind to mess up your hair and when someone told you to shut up, you listened.

TRUST ME: I ignored the pulsing, cracked-white sky. I got rained on (didn’t care) and I kept the letters (BIG MISTAKE). Also, I heard fireworks and didn’t look up. I missed them and that’s a bummer because I bet they were beautiful. Lights are always beautiful.

FURTHER EXPLANATION: If I had my druthers I’d live in the forest and eat fire. I’d find a dripping, black-green forest. Some orange-blue fire.

REVIEW: Are you getting this?

Leesa Cross-Smith lives and writes in Kentucky. She loves baseball, slushies and cowboy boots. Her short story, “Whiskey & Ribbons,” won Editor’s Choice in the 2011 Raymond Carver Short Story Contest. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Word Riot, matchbook, DOGZPLOT, NAP, Little Fiction, Storychord, The Rumpus, Bluestem Magazine and Carve Magazine. She can be found online at LeesaCrossSmith.com or LeesaCrossSmith.tumblr.com.

See Leesa’s list of 5 Things You Should Read in our ongoing contributors’ series.