Authors: Mila McWarren
Copyright © Mila McWarren, 2015
All Rights Reserved
ISBN 13: 978-1-941530-39-9 (trade)
ISBN 13: 978-1-941530-43-6 (ebook)
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and places are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to real persons, either living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
by Lex Huffman
Cover design by Buckeyegrrl Designs
Cover Illustration and Interior art by C.B. Messer
left by Jasmine on Aaron’s phone around noon on January 1, 2015:
“Oh, honey, you better sit down for this. Alex just sent me a text message with a picture of an engagement ring on her finger. I can’t believe they’re actually gonna do it—they’re way too young! And I’m not seeing either one of them until we go back early for rehearsals and spring auditions, so I’ll get to David before I see her—he better watch out.” Jasmine sighs and jostles the phone. “I can’t believe you’re already back up there and I can’t just come over and bitch about this. Why the hell didn’t you stay in Houston until after New Year’s?”
* * *
An email dated February 10, 2015:
To: David, Jasmine, Nik, Aaron, Stephanie, Tu, Mia, Camille, Natalia, Nicole, Shelby, Jennifer, Bianca
So hopefully by now you’ve all had a chance to get used to the
that is me and David getting married. I am so ridiculously excited, so if you still think it’s weird or antifeminist or we’re too young or whatever just keep it to yourself, because I need your help planning a wedding.
We’re fighting years of family tradition to keep my mother’s hands off of it because we’re trying to keep it small, really, honestly small, not Tejano-small, because it’s nicer and cheaper. Also, nobody needs the drama and I actually learned something from my mother’s utter craziness during my quince, and she didn’t even seem that disappointed when I told her. Jasmine gets to be maid of honor and take care of my fractious ass because if it weren’t for her (dot dot dot) and Nik will be David’s best man because he
. Both of our attendants, I’m pretty sure, will rue the day.
What I would really like to do is have the most amazing, romantic, laid-back summer wedding. I want it to be in a pretty place, and I want to have flowers and lemonade and champagne and lots of tinkly music and dancing in bare feet, and that’s really about it. And I want my friends to be involved. I want everybody who’s getting this email to know that they’re special to us. So what I want to ask of you guys is that you help us—help us plan our wedding, help us get it ready, be a part of it. You guys are the most talented people I know, and we love all of you.
So if you’re game, let me know. The weekend we’ve picked for the wedding is the 27th and 28th of June (yes, this June, you losers—no long engagements for us) and I know it’s pretty soon after the end of school for a lot of us, but I really like the idea of finishing college and starting my grown-up life with David for real.
More details later, once I’ve come down off of this cloud. And finished my lab work.
Love and in love,
* * *
Another email dated February 10, 2015:
Just a private follow-up to ask you to be my HBIC. Your mom is the only one I know who actually taught her kid to do anything remotely useful, and I need to ruthlessly exploit that. And besides that, you know you are my own personal style guru. Bring your A-game, baby, and thank you for getting over everything that could have made this hard, because I need you.
Love you—the other A
* * *
An email dated March 3, 2015:
To: David, Jasmine, Nik, Aaron, Stephanie, Tu, Mia, Nicole
If I’ve heard back from you in the affirmative you’re on this email list, which I’ve entitled CAMP WEDDING 2015 for lack of a more epic title—all my epic thoughts are filled up with finishing my thesis and deciding what we’re doing about last names. (And thank you, but it’s more complicated than just doodling them in the margins of my notebooks.
try being a feminist with a name like mine and marrying a proud man!)
But I wanted to let you know that we have a location! Stephanie has already come through and offered us her family’s place down in Galveston, and oh my God, y’all, it’s so perfect! When we were in high school we spent a week there for a school paper thing (Steph was our editor, of course), and so let me tell you: That house is pretty amazing. (It is
swanky—I have no idea why Steph went to that shitty high school with the rest of us broke-ass losers if her parents can swing that place.) There is a lawn right next to it and one of those stone jetties into the Gulf. I’m pretty excited and it’s beginning to come together in my head, so let’s all say a big thank you to Stephanie and her parents. THANK YOU, MR. AND MRS. AND MS. BAXTER! (This is such a huge deal. My mom called her mom. It’s embarrassing that that is still happening but there you go.)
What this means is that, since we have the whole house we can spend some time there before the wedding whipping things into shape, and apparently we have the go-ahead to move into the house as of Saturday the 20th. There are six bedrooms and some of them will sleep like three or four people (dibs on not sleeping in a bunk bed), and if you’re going to be helping us get things together you should totally come spend the week with us so we can make things. It’ll be like the biggest house-party-slash-crafting-session ever. Jasmine will get high off of magic markers and Aaron will spill glitter everywhere and then pronounce it festive. I can’t wait.
The address is at the bottom of this email. Google Maps works, and you can park anywhere on the street. Let me know when we can expect to see you, and good luck finishing up the semester! (And, I think for everybody on this list: Have fun at graduation! Can you believe it?)
Alejandra Valeria Martinez Garcia-Williams (is a terrible name)
* * *
A response to the previous email, sent reply all four minutes later:
My parents will not appreciate another glitter explosion; my dad is still vacuuming it out of furniture and every time he does my mother has to leave the room to spend some time talking to Jesus. Find a new decorative angle, please.
*** Ms. Stephanie Baxter
Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Class of 2015
A digital portfolio is available upon request
“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” —Maureen Dowd
* * *
An email dated March 4, 2015:
Glitter is so 2010 and also completely inappropriate for a summer wedding. I knew that even during the incident of which we no longer speak (so nice job, Alex). Who
you think you’re dealing with?
I’ll probably be there last—I need to be here as much as I can for work and I want to go home for a day or two because I haven’t been home since Christmas. You can probably expect me on Sunday night. I’m booking my flight next week, assuming my last grant check comes in on time.
Looking forward to taking my place as Emperor of All Things, etc.,
* * *
Alejandra Valeria Martinez Garcia
David Marcus Williams
invite you to share in their joy at their wedding
Saturday, June 27, 2015
at six o’clock in the evening
at the home of Rashawn and Vanessa Baxter
* * *
A post from the blo
A Lone Star in Manhattan,
Thursday, June 15, 2015:
After six months helping my friend A plan this wedding, I’m headed home for it tomorrow night. The itinerary goes like this: Mom for a couple of days, the fancy wedding house for a week, then Mom for a few more days, then home.
A’s wedding is going to be gorgeous because we’re going to make it that way. And it’s going to be joyous because she is the most alive person I know, and she’s crazy about her husband-to-be. And it’s going to be sweaty because she’s getting married outside, in Texas, in June. We cannot have everything, I guess.
I am going to be gracious, because I motherfucking
. My mother would be appalled if I behaved in any other way; we may be poor, but my mother was never desperate. I will tell myself that, over and over, and those of you who are there will all remind me as necessary. Right?
* * *
A post from the
blog on the “About Our Students” page from the website of an MFA program based in New York City, Friday, June 16, 2015:
I really wanted to be able to make these posts; I read last year’s Year One posts every week—I almost said “religiously,” and that would be accurate; it was a part of my Sunday morning—and when I came to the admissions open house back in January I stood on the other side of the room and looked hard at Gillian. While it’s not quite right to say I wished her
I did imagine, for only the briefest moment, that the cheese she was eating might go off if I wished for it hard enough, and then this program would be down a student, and who better to fill the shoes of a female Jamaican poet than a gay white boy from Texas? (This story reflects even more poorly on me if you know how kind Gillian has been to me since the day I hoped the Boursin would do her in. Let us not dwell upon those details.)
Of course, now that the opportunity is upon me, I’m freezing up and have no idea what to say. I wanted to be asked to write this blog; I wanted
to be here and I was beyond honored when they asked me to do some of the writing for the department as part of my funding package. “It’s an honor,” the department secretary said. “It’s a chance to work on developing your voice,” Gillian said. “They’re giving you money for it,” the rest of my incoming cohort said (“you lucky bastard,” was the part they did not say). “For fuck’s sake, you actually think you are a memoirist and you even managed to convince other people you could pull it off, so get over yourself already,” the imposter who lives inside my head said.
Maybe that’s the best answer to “why the MFA,” then: to make me get over myself already.
So hi. I’m Aaron. I’m twenty-three and I just graduated from NYU with double majors in English and history. That’s me over to the side; Beth (that kind and incredibly patient woman you get on the phone every time you call here panicking about your application) took the photo, and I think she captured something of the real me in the crazy expression in my eyes, although I don’t think they’ve ever looked that blue and I suspect she used a filter. I live in Brooklyn with some roommates; I don’t have a boyfriend; I was a vegetarian for four months before I realized I love my own sense of pleasure much more than I love animals; I like wearing colors, but I’m usually wearing black because sometimes I still feel like a poor relation. I grew up in Texas and I’m a first-generation college graduate, and staying in New York to do my MFA is about so much more than my reluctance to ever leave New York and move back in with my mother, I promise.
I’ll be your voyeuristic window into the first year of the MFA program until spring 2016, when the department chooses somebody else, or until I fail miserably and spectacularly. If I do wash out, it will be from too much work and too much coffee, not enough sleep and not enough social contact, and what a dull student blog that would be to read. I’ll try to do better.
I’ll be back home for a wedding starting tomorrow, and while I’m there I will be convincing everybody who has known me since I was thirteen that I am now a serious New York writer. When I get back here, I’ll start convincing you, too. Just wait and see if I don’t.