Summer Reading [story] by Christie Wilson

The things our parents gave us simply made us want to run away. Our stomachs hurt. You carried a copy of McCullers in your back pocket and kept making fun of the man who names his son Karl Marx. We climbed to the tallest tip of the tallest hill around just to scream, but it was only role playing and didn’t feel any good or bring that word or what I thought that word might feel like—catharsis.

And that was only June. By July, Cuckoo’s Nest was in your pocket and you stomped around and experimented your wild-eyed looks on me. I shrugged just to keep your attention. You put your tongue in my mouth almost every one of those hot days, but still we never said the same things.

Others came and went, Holden and Huck, but it wasn’t until you met Sal and Dean that you thought we should leave. I followed you, only a few pages behind, and the words were lava that ran down your chin and puddled between us on your bedroom floor as you packed a bag and I decided not to breathe.

Your dad called my mom. I said nothing so she had nothing to say, but she watched me wait for you, hands so vast and empty. I was done with books.


Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

[Refer: This story refers to the poem “Book Life” by Aimée Harris.]

Image by Christopher Dombres

Christie Wilson lives with her husband and daughter in Knoxville, TN. She currently working on a collection of short stories and a novel.