Evening Things Out
By Nadia Froese
Something that comes naturally to me is taking the pits out of avocados. Nobody else in my family is very good at it. My mother has given up. Francis, she says. The pits, please take them out. She'll have like five avocados all cut and lined up, ready to go in the salad. Usually by this point Justin is screaming and she's got him resting on her left hip. It’s always the left one because it’s weaker than the right and my mom is all about evening things out. She’s trying to strengthen her weaker hip. I think I get my grape-eating habits from this obsession of hers—I always need to have an even number of grapes in my mouth, the same amount on each side, or I feel unbalanced.
I have begun to wonder though if the only reason that she buys avocados is so that I can de-pit them, because she is the only one who ends up eating them anyways. I don’t like the way they are soft in my mouth, not crunchy like grapes. Justin spits them out, he spits everything out, and Randy only eats things that are yellow, as well as sometimes oranges. He says that oranges are yellow, even though I have told him repeatedly that the first clue to what colour they are is in the name. Randy’s gift is reading, which is a pretty solitary gift if you think about it, and not too much help. And nobody knows what comes naturally to Justin yet, he’s only a baby, less than one. My mom is good at making salads and buying food and more things come naturally to her too, like talking to principals and stuff like that, which she has to do sometimes.
Once my friend George and I threw rocks onto the roof of the school, which we thought would be fun because it would make it sound like rain in the classrooms even though the sun was shining so bright that George’s mom had made him wear sunglasses. I just couldn’t stop thinking about all of the kids sitting in their desks, hearing the rain, and looking out the window at the cloudless sky. How? It seemed pretty funny to me. I told Randy about it, the morning that George and I were gonna do it, and he looked up from his book. It's like oranges, I said. Rain and outside it's sunny, something is wrong. I laughed but Randy didn't get it. He didn't seem to think it was funny.
Well it didn't end up being funny to the principal either, or to my mom, or to George’s mom, and even though we tried to explain so many times that we weren't trying to hurt anyone, they didn’t believe us. When I walked home next to my mom’s angry feet down the hot cement sidewalk, she wouldn’t talk to me. Rain in the middle of June, I kept saying. Rain on a sunny day. It’s funny. Like how Randy thinks that oranges are yellow.
Francis, she finally said.
Like how you're the only one who likes avocados.
Francis. You are really good at getting on my nerves.
Good at? I said.
You can’t throw rocks. You can’t be good at throwing rocks, it’s bad. And it makes me look bad.
I was silent.
Stick with avocado pits. De-pitting avocados. That’s a handy talent, she said. It hadn’t occurred to me that the thing that came naturally to me could change, or that I could be good at more than one thing like my mother. I wondered if it would have been different if George and I had thrown avocado pits onto the roof of the school. How much of it had to do with the rocks, and how much of it had to do with the throwing.
Space for the Moon
By Nadia Froese
Every night I take one picture of the moon. Moon pictures are the only pictures I’m taking right now. They are mostly blurry and I am okay with that. I am okay with most things right now. Okay but sometimes, I can’t find the moon and then I take a picture of a streetlight. It’s a good thing I live in the city where there are plenty of available streetlights. Imagine if there were none. Imagine if I had to settle on taking no pictures. Imagine—Celine. I would say: She’s my best friend! except that Zak is my best friend and so I can’t say that. Zak is a dog and lives at my grandmother’s house. He is fairly large and is also my favourite breed of dog, which is a lab. Celine told me yesterday about dogs. More specifically, she told me about her theory on dogs, which is this: They’re great. I had to agree. Celine is a great second best friend and mostly for the reason that she is okay with knowing that she can never be number one. My number one theory is the circle theory. It’s not so much a theory as it is a practice. I’m tracing circles in places. It has to do with everything being connected to everything else. I got the idea from the moon and from the way my grandmother will sometimes put her hand on Zak’s head, so gently, and he’ll wag his tail, so slightly, and I can feel a soft blue circle unravelling below my belly button. It’s the fact that I can notice it. Sensitivity, I think I’m talking about. And the way that the moon is round, and therefore connected to everything else. The more I think about it, the more I come back to the same place. The more I am back at the same place the more I realize that I misspoke before. I’m not tracing circles, I'm tracing moons: Everywhere. Moons in my hair and Celine’s nails when she rubs away her pink nail polish with her teeth. Moons are Zak’s eyes and my grandmother’s because they have the same ones when I come in the kitchen door from school. And then the sun is on my grandmother’s hair in a way that makes me want to brush my own hair in the afternoon light. I guess I’m saying that I misspoke before: I take more than one moon picture a day. I take millions. When I think about my theory I realize that I misspeak before a lot. I misspeak after a lot too, but it doesn’t matter because I never know that I said something different until later and that is the basis of my theory. About circles. Moons, I mean. I misspoke about Celine not being my number one, because of what I said before about moons. About circles, and how circles don’t have a number one. Zak is Celine is my best friend is my grandmother and everything is webbed together. When I print the moon pictures every month and add them to my grandmother’s wall I tie them together with knotted string. And later when I print the pictures and tie them together with knotted string we can never tell which ones are streetlights.
Nadia Froese is a writer of fiction and poetry from Vancouver. She will be graduating with a BFA in Creative Writing from UBC in 2018. Her poetry has previously appeared in Phoebe.