the stories we hold inside

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the stories we hold insidemy date has jicama breath & i have essay mind, so each question he asks feels like i have to give him an intro + body + conclusion. & that’s what i do when he says, tell me something about you.
intro: well, i’m a writer. don’t worry—i don’t think of that as a personality trait. & i don’t plan on sticking my head in an oven anytime soon. not unless the day throws up zombies & they run wild outside.
body: it’s kind of embarrassing, but i used to write anime fan-fiction when i was younger. not like smut. okay, kind of. but more like sex-hunger. you
know,
   the buildup—right to the point a geyser erupts.
conclusion: i’ve never published anything, but one day i will. someone will grab my book out of the bottom of a 99-cent bin at a second-hand store
& be
   bedazzled.

when i finish speaking, he has his drink pressed against his lips, ice to mouth. not a good sign. which only deepens my hatred for storytelling. i never know how to tell a story—i leave out too many details, assume people can see what i’m thinking, & i never know where to begin. most memories feel like tiny shimmering flecks & most seem too small to bother with. i wish storytelling was as easy as pouring the past into a kool-aid pitcher, passing it to someone, & then letting them drink themselves full. but my date doesn’t seem like the type of person who would ever worry about the stories we hold inside. he places his cup down & says, that’s cute. i like robot chicken. have you seen that show? 


Photo used under CC.




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About Author

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JJ Peña is a queer, burrito-blooded writer, living & existing in El Paso, Tx. His work appears in, or is forthcoming from, Passages North, Split Lip, Into the Void, Hayden’s Ferry, & elsewhere. He has an MFA from the University of Texas at El Paso.

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