It was a Carla Morning, one of those mornings when I’d walk down into the living room and see Carla asleep on the couch, brow furrowed in a quiet expression of guilt, as if she knew she didn’t belong there. She’d let herself in through the back door, probably drunk. I could smell the sour liquor from the doorway. I didn’t like seeing her there. It made me sick to think of her, my childhood idol, as deteriorated, as having lost the luster of youthful ambition. Looking at Carla in the watery light of dawn, her hair stringy and lips pale, my stomach tightened. The cat was sitting on her feet like a loaf of bread.
She looked like some sort of tree spirit, with her wild dark hair and skin nearly translucent. Her eyes were deep set, like chunks of jade dropped into a glass of milk. The first thing people saw about her were her eyes, and then she opened her mouth and they listened to her laugh. Carla could control people like that, could captivate them. “I don’t know what that girl gets up to,” my mom would say.
What did she get up to? I didn’t know then, and I don’t know now. Stupid idiot, I turned the television on loud to wake her up and get her rushing out without a “goodbye.” That was the last Carla Morning, before we had to drive down the four-o-five in suffocating five o’clock traffic and identify her to a fat bald police officer.
My mother puddled around Carla’s sneakered feet, which would never walk in through the back door again.
RAE DOX KIM
Rae Dox Kim is a freshman at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco, where she is part of the creative writing program. She is fifteen, and enjoys writing short fiction. Her work has been published in The Skinny online journal and Ruth Asawa SOTA’s literary zine, Umlaüt. She is fluent in Korean and her favorite book is A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. You can find her on Instagram at @literaelly_