May 2015 - Comments Off on Jaclyn Triebel

Jaclyn Triebel


The way you see it we’re all just trading goods
and services. Still, every time you do it there’s
this feeling behind your belly button like when
you look out of a particularly high window in a
building, in a sky scraper, or when you look out
over a cliff. You love that feeling. It’s weird,
watching yourself, because it feels like you’re
watching a stranger. You’re performing for
yourself, that’s the only person you can see, but
it’s different than looking in a mirror. There are
fragments of yourself that flake away when you
have experiences like this. I don’t mean flaking
in the sense that you’re falling apart, but that
you’re fracturing yourself into smaller pieces,
smaller separate images of yourself that live in
other places. There’s the original image, and
then there’s the image your parents have of you,
the image your boyfriend has, there’s the image
your friends at home have in their heads—what
you look like to them when they can’t see you
and imagine you off at school doing whatever it
is you do. There’s an infinite amount of images
when you start to think about it, and if you think
about it too long, it’s hard to remember which
one came first. You don’t think about it too
much. Now, you’re in bed, and you’re looking
at this image of yourself and you start taking off
your clothes, and you’re making eye contact
with yourself the entire time, wondering if that’s
what other people see when they look at you.
But They don’t care about any of this stuff—the
real things you think about while you’re
spreading yourself open for them. They are busy
buying a fantasy. Most of the guys are older,
and into the little girl thing, even though they
don’t admit it. You always get that one guy who
won’t stop calling you his daughter, and that can
get pretty fucked up. But it’s easy to block
people from your room. You’re not even visible
to most of the northeast. You’re so easily
transported and hidden it’s like you’re not
human. They love telling you what to do. It
makes things easier that way, because then the
whole show starts to feel like you’re not really
there, it’s just a rental. It’s just your body, just a
picture of your body.


You are fourteen years old exactly (it’s your
birthday) and you hear yourself say that
you’ve never done something like this
before (which is not a lie technically).
You’re just glad the boy laying next to you
doesn’t say anything about the elastic
showing in the waistband of your
underpants. For some reason that makes you
feel safe because you thought he might have
laughed at you. But he’s too focused on the
squish-squish sound coming from between
your legs. It makes you nervous because it
feels like you peed your pants, but you were
too embarrassed to google what it meant to
finger someone when he asked if he could
do it to you, so you’re not sure if he’s doing
it wrong. When he pulls down your shorts
he asks if everything is cool and you know
you’re supposed to say yes—he said he just
wanted to see what it felt like—but it
doesn’t feel anything like a tampon when he
sticks his fingers inside you (or what you
imagined that would feel like)(what your
sister said it would feel like). You smile and
you breathe slow to make it sound like
you’re enjoying it (you should be enjoying
it). You think that maybe people like the
way this feels, the way his fingers make you
hurt. He says your pussy feels like a soggy
hot dog bun. You know he’s going to tell his
friends. You’re worried you’re doing it
wrong. You’re worried he feels bad for you
and that you’ll never get another chance do
this ever, not with the beautiful perfect boy.
You think maybe you love him. And now
you’re blowing your one shot to prove you
are a grown-up adult woman, so you fake
moan and say you love it. But it’s too
intimate to have another human being inside
of you, so for a minute you pretend that you
aren’t fourteen in the guest bedroom of your
best friend's house with a boy you barely
know whose meanness you misread as
“passionate.” You pretend that you’re a
grown-up woman and that you want this.
But you’re only fourteen years old, with a
pair of underwear your mother bought you
wrapped around your knees. You don’t even
know that you’re pretending. When it’s over
you know you didn’t cum like you read you
were supposed to. He just stopped and laid
next to you and looked out the window, and
when you asked if you could kiss him he
went to wash his hands.


They probably meet once a week, at least.
They’re very very organized and have an
agenda to get through every meeting and
someone takes the minutes to send out to all
those who couldn’t make it. They start with
attendance and snacks, and then they make a
joke to get things started. Everyone takes a seat.
They have a list of all the things you did that
week, and things they still haven’t resolved
from the last meeting. 1) You talk too much. 2)
Your honesty is more like brutality. 3)
Sometimes you treat people like objects. 4) You
are too cold, and you never seem to care about
anything. 5) You are too ugly and untalented to
be their friend in the first place. They make sure
everything is written down neatly, to be
transcribed into records for posterity. Then they
open it up to a group discussion. Everyone
laughs at how easy it is to keep the club a secret
from you. Even though you’re suspicious, they
lie to your face about how much they love you.
You try to catch them in the act, but they keep
changing where they meet and you can never
find them in time. They tell you it’s all in your
head, they say that you are paranoid. You are
not paranoid. One day they will slip up, and
leave behind the piece of paper with the
scribbled information about their club’s secret
meeting place, and you will show up right in the
middle, in time for snacks, and you will say: I
knew it. I knew it all along.

Published by: in Issue 2: Spring 2015, Prose, Volume 71

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