Some pleasant news amidst the craziness of the world right now: my short story Ink / Mud took second place at the 2019 Hackney Literary Awards!
Since the story is going to be published in a future issue of the Birmingham Arts Journal, I’ll just post a snippet here for now:
People liked to see twins together, names and outfits in sync – Nicole and Katherine, Nikki and Kitty – and classified us out loud to their children and friends. You get used to being looked at as something special. Whenever our parents took us out separately, on excursions recommended by psychologists to encourage us to develop as individuals, I felt uninteresting, reduced. But Nicole hated being part of a set. No matter how much she loved me and I loved her, I couldn’t change that. She constructed a firm boundary around her, one I had to knock on to enter, one where permission was not always granted. At least in high school, even if we rarely spoke on schoolgrounds, she was nearby, her orbit tugging at mine.
Freshman year at college was like re-learning to walk after the loss of a limb. Autumn settled into a belligerent winter. My incessant texts to my sister went unanswered for days. She’d mention weekend plans or new friends, and I’d pretend I was busy too. If my roommate was out, I escaped to the library or the art studio or a party. Anyone’s party. When I was by myself, I wound down, my clockwork actions growing slower and slower until I could only stare into space. But by the time the campus belly-flopped into spring, I managed to reach a wobbly equilibrium. I was beginning to see myself as my own center of gravity when, in the final heat-swollen days of the semester, Nicole appeared unannounced at the tattoo parlor where I worked part-time. Thrilled, bewildered, I was simultaneously reset and off-kilter.