By Emily Sernaker
When someone says a mental math problem
I usually act like I’m trying to solve it but secretly
wait it out until someone else does the work.
I tend to think of today’s date in the announcer’s voice
from The Daily Show. I sometimes sit next to handsome
men in coffee shops, pretend we’re together reading
different sides of the same newspaper. My family
loves watching 24 reruns. Dad yells “there’s no time,”
accuses my mother of being a Russian spy. When I’m
let down I feel like a game of Jenga with a log taken out.
I can feel myself tumbling. I don’t like people who
over-use the word “obviously.” I got a month-to-month
lease so I could leave Washington D.C. any time.
The Lincoln Memorial steps are still the best place to sit.
I could learn to pack a better snowball. Could save M&Ms
in trail mix for someone good. I have a sneaking
suspicion the man I end up with will own a Ghostbusters
T-shirt. I’d like to know more about Saint Francis.
Emily Sernaker is a writer and activist. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, Ms. Magazine Online, and Politics and Prose District Lines. She currently studies creative writing at Pacific University.
Originally appeared in NOR 20.