Taking Off by AP

Real Life by Alexandra Williamson
May 14, 2018
from Invasive Species by Melissa Eleftherion
May 16, 2018

The teacher was scratching chalk across the blackboard. V was red-eyed. She hated herself for
missing Sundays in his eucalyptus and cigarette scented bed.
V and her ex met on a bridge. She was spitting out cherry pits, watching the cars inch back and
forth below, when he first approached her, warning she’d get a heat stroke. They went to an air-conditioned pizzeria and he offered an aspirin. She dutifully swallowed it. She did the same with his
controlling behavior. It tasted like concern.
At lunch, Noemi asked if she was miserable because she got in trouble again for shortening her
skirt. V was relieved to talk subpar school uniforms.
No. Didn’t the school board mention ordering new uniforms for the next schoolyear?
I’m sure they are working on it, said Noemi in a cynical tone.
V claimed to have cramps to go home early, then threw herself into a campaign advocating to do
away with the stodgy fabric. To everyone’s surprise, the flyers, presentations and coffee and muffins
resulted in sufficient signatures to put just enough pressure on the school board.
V got her ears pierced that summer. Three holes in each ear. It went against her school’s code. She
loved how the different earrings jangled against one another. She didn’t share the same appreciation
for the new uniforms, which were a scratchy, polyester-nylon blend in mustard and teal. Everyone
couldn’t wait to graduate out of uniforms, hopefully forever.
On one occasion, V was at the bus station, wearing a leather mini skirt, when she heard a voice she
hoped to never hear again.
You’re basically asking for some creep to grab your butt.
Dressing like an innocent school girl didn’t keep you away, so I’m trying something new.
He was gone by the time she had freshened up her lip color.

Ana Prundaru is a Zurich-based visual artist and writer, whose work has recently appeared in Storm Cellar, Hayden’s Ferry Review, New England Review, BUST Magazine, among others. She is the author of five poetry collections, most recently “Anima” (Dancing Girl Press). Find her on Twitter @the_anamaria.