Today’s story of the day is one of my favorites from FiveChapters, the brilliant online literary journal and press: Aryn Kyle’s “Take Care.” Taken from her new collection, Boys and Girls Like You and Me, this story is sure to start your week off right. Kyle’s writing is brilliant, effortless, and as beautiful as the writer herself. Enjoy “Take Care,” and keep reading work over at FiveChapters.
There were often long gaps of time between phone calls or appointments, and then Claudia and Kate would take turns making runs to the vending machines on the third floor, bringing back sodas and chocolate bars and little bags of gummy bears. They sat on the counter and painted their fingernails with Wite-Out, eating candy and planning what Kate would tell Claudia’s psychologist the next time they met.
Some afternoons, Holly lingered around their counter, nibbling at their candy and asking Claudia and Kate questions about their lives, then telling them about her own before they had a chance to answer.
“Are you virgins?” she asked, and Claudia snorted while Kate tried to look busy organizing that morning’s charts — there were only two, and she stacked one on top of the other, then switched the top one to the bottom, then switched them again.
Holly had lost her virginity when she was thirteen to a boy who was seventeen and working at her stepfather’s auto shop. They’d done it in the backseat of a 1977 Crown Vic that had been brought into the shop for faulty steering, and afterward, the boy had bought Holly a root beer from the vending machine. When she thought about it now, Holly said, it made her kind of sad. But she tried to remind herself that she’d had low self-esteem back then, and that it was Cincinnati.