The Breadcrumbs widget will appear here on the published site.
Fiction: Hunter's Ed by Alyssa Greenberg
By Alysaa Greenberg
Hunter’s Ed, you exclaimed once, soon after we’d met. You’ve never heard of it?
Once you had taken my cluelessness in stride, you explained the requirements. Wilderness skills. Firearms. Outdoor gear. It had let you graduate high school, and make your way to the city where I met you.
How would I have heard of Hunter’s Ed? I’d grown up in affluent, conflict-free suburbia, while you were raised to know TV dinners and divorce and guns. I remember your pride in telling me about leaving the oven door open for heat in your first apartment. This was meant to endear you to me, to embed pity and tenderness and admiration at how you’d risen above your circumstances. Your shoes now cost three hundred dollars, your headphones five hundred. You’d had your hard times, but you’d arrived. You had definition and direction where I had indulgences and choices that kept me flailing, until and after you chose me.
That day, as we picked our way through the woods near my own first apartment, you began to choose me.
You let me feel safe for years. Generous, considering the possibilities open to you. Your shelter was a charity that I accepted greedily, walking on eggshells to buy myself time. I lived in survival mode, whittling down my expectations of you until they were small enough not to hurt when they jostled, more and more often over time.
This doesn’t go here, you’d say, brandishing a purse left carelessly in the foyer, mouth turned down in disgust. It goes here. You had a system. I’d shake, turn pale, promise to do better.
The night it all came down, your voice shook and you couldn’t meet my eyes. You’d picked me for the easy sense of superiority that came with watching me struggle, but you’d somehow forgotten until that moment that I had been keeper all of your secrets, especially the ones that couldn’t be molded to fit your burnished new image. Your credit line is done for, your bottomless anger channeled into clothes and gadgets. You know, still, that I know you from back then.
I walk to the subway in a new neighborhood, not far from where I used to live in the place you made for yourself. It was by your grace that I called that a life. I walk in a different way now, no longer pursued, but in pursuit.
Comments are closed.