Me and Earl and the Dying Girl


The exploding turkey had an expression on his face, like: “Goddammit! I’m exploding again?”

I am cooking dinner (meatballs*) and talking on the phone to my dad about the month of August and looking out the window at my children. One of them is planting beans. There were several orphaned plants in the elementary school lobby at camp pickup today and B took four home to plant in his garden. But he is not, right now, digging in his garden. He’s digging in my garden. He’s got a huge shovel (is it for snow?) and he’s flinging dirt across the lawn while his brothers look on. One of his brothers is yelling at him, criticizing his technique, no doubt. The other brother is plotting. I can tell. That brother is saving this moment of error in a specific portion of his brain, to be accessed when he needs a morsel of ammunition. B is oblivious. B is cross. I don’t know why. I’m on the phone. I have about .28 seconds before they all burst into the house and fill the air with accusations, details, centuries-old drama (Cain, Abel**) and distract me from my phone conversation. Now my dad and I are talking about how he has a life and I don’t. I really, really don’t. I work, I cook dinners, I watch ancient episodes of Friends*** on TV, I sleep fitfully, and I wake to do it all again. I love my life. But I have no life. I like to think about the years ahead when there are empty space to fill with things like concerts, trips to Paris, trips to the dentist unaccompanied, dinners eaten by candlelight with books propped at each place setting. But also, my children, some of them, are doing the puberty thing and for the first time in eight years I felt just a sad smidge of oooooohhhh…this will end. Soon there will be no Legos in my house. Soon there will be no enriched noodles in my house. Soon I will be able to talk on the phone to my dad for longer than five minutes without interruption. Sigh. Stupid puberty.

*No one liked the meatballs. Not even me.

**I had to look up those names.

***When I was a teenager I never noticed this, but holy moly those girls need to put on some weight.

One thought on “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

  1. Yes, yes, yes, yes, and YES! When we both get a someday life, let’s go out to dinner and clink glasses, and talk about books and travel (and, of course, our children).

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