My mother never tells me about the morning I was born, only about the snowstorm—large and heavy and difficult to drive through—instead she teaches me to sew on a little red Singer, instead she sews me a rainbow polka dot jumpsuit, a Rainbow Brite costume, instead I sew myself a Peter Pan costume and quilts for my lovers, instead I take the needles and see how far I can push them into my skin, instead I cut myself with the kitchen bread knife, instead I consider driving into the ditch behind the wheel of a car I bought myself, instead I show up to work early, instead I wash golf clubs for men in slacks who tip me, instead they joke that I could get tipped for some other service, instead my male coworkers leave me alone because I get the fives, the tens, the twenties, instead I don’t split it evenly so I can buy myself pants from the men’s section and a fake ID where I am from Connecticut instead of New Jersey, instead I use the fake ID and the butch bouncer says Cute Cute and waves me in, instead I watch women dancing at the mirror, instead I get fucked on a pile of dirty laundry by a woman whose knuckles remind me of bark, instead the need to disappear is found at the bottom of a can and I get tattooed often, instead the man tattooing a pen on me says, This Tattoo Is Stupid, instead I am told too many times that I Cannot, so I am good, and behaved, and quiet, and don’t say much when I get Sir’d or Lady’d when all I want is How Are You Doing Today?

Jess Pane is a bookseller in Brooklyn, NY, where she volunteers for One Teen Story. Jess’s work has appeared on Everyday Genius and the podcast The Other Stories. She is a current MFA fiction candidate at NYU.