Alone in bed on a Saturday morning, Rebecca drew the covers around her chest and stared out the window. The house she shared with Kate, a girl she’d met off Craigslist a little over a year ago, was perched on the top of a hill. Below her unfolded a colony of rooftops. A thin sheen of winter coated the shingles. She watched a sparrow land, shiver, and skate away.
The temperature had dropped in the night and neither Rebecca nor Kate had gotten up to turn on the heat. They were both poor students and played a game of chicken with the utilities. Whoever cracked – and it was usually Rebecca – got all the blame for the last minute scramble to the local bank.
“Put on a sweater,” Kate always advised, and Rebecca did. She put on sweaters and sweatshirts and flannel and cradled hot water bottles in her arms like a baby – but she questioned how a house could be a home if the cold she felt on the bus ride back from campus continued to thrive unchallenged between its walls.
Rebecca disappeared beneath the covers, sucked the warmth between her teeth, and poked a toe into the cold air. She let the covers drop slowly back, revealing the contours of her leg. Starting just above her knee, she scanned for refugees from yesterday’s sheathing, finding, to her disappointment, only goose bumps gathering her skin into Braille. She’d have no excuse now to linger several minutes longer in the hot shower she planned on taking sometime this afternoon.
Rebecca sighed, arched her foot, pointed her toes, pressed the fat part of her heel firm into the carpet and wiggled.
It was nearly eleven and her stomach growled loudly. But Kate lived in the basement and complained whenever Rebecca walked too loudly on the floorboards, even though Rebecca was half her size and had learned to tiptoe. The kitchenware was all Kate’s, too, and she liked to drop in with “quick cleaning tips.” Using bleach to scrub a chopping board stained with a chicken’s raw juices. Drying dishes with a cloth so as not to clog the dish rack, whose bent wires told tales of heavy usage but had sat empty for as long as Rebecca had lived in the thin-walled house on 15th Ave NE.
Kate was supposed to be at work by this time, but she often ran late and Rebecca knew to wait for the sound of gravel crunching beneath tires. Cooking breakfast on a Saturday was a private ritual, one she preferred not to share with Kate. In those six free hours, when next week’s reading, papers, and grading had yet to demand every last fiber of Rebecca’s attention, the kitchen was her place for little rebellions.
Bread was most often the anarchy of her choice, sometimes with a side of soup. There was something soothing and chaotic in watching flour clouds puff towards an exhaust vent. She loved the resistance in the wooden chopping board, which she’d have to pry loose from a spore-encrusted drawer – the feel of dough between her fingers. She’d think of high school chemistry class, of little yeast Pac Men gnawing down chains of sugar – carbon, hydrogen, oxygen merry go-rounds, metabolized to their elemental forms. Saturdays were the one time in the week when she was allowed to turn her brain to autopilot, to see the world not through nuanced, theoretical perspectives but through her fingers, tongue, and nose.
While the dough rose for three hours beneath a warm dishrag, she’d chop vegetables, letting thin films of onion fall to the floor. She’d cook soup without a lid, daydream as it bubbled violently over the pot’s steely walls. She’d slip red pleather ballet flats beneath her cotton candy pajama bottoms, turn the radio up loud and waltz across the linoleum, pretending she was one of those wall flowers turned blooming flower she’d read about in the Victorian novels that had drawn her to graduate school and who were now the sole source of her penury.
In academia, her work was never done, nor was she often “right.” She was ever lumpy, unformed, in need of molding. The same when she was with Kate, who was always offering suggestions for improvement, yet rarely doing any upkeep of her own.
Not so beneath the dishrag, where the dough found perfection quietly and unseen. It waited for her at the tail end of three hours, surface smooth and unbroken, all blemishes consumed before the braiding. Beneath her jagged fingernails: the final remains of a rough beginning. Dry dough shouting, “Foul!” then swirling away down a Mr. Clean drain.
As the dough would harden in the hot oven, she’d sweep up all the rinds, run the mop over the tiles and bleach the sink, rinse the dishrag with hand soap and hang it by the window to dry. By the time Kate would return, only a hint of dough hovered beneath the smell of cleaning products, an incriminating half loaf of challah left by the refrigerator with a note. An invitation to share; her admission of guilt.
But Rebecca didn’t feel like cooking today. She’d had a bad date last night, and when she’d come home, Kate had been crying on the couch, a pot of spaghetti crusting on the coffee table. Her boyfriend had ended things again – the third time this year, and it was only March. When Kate loved and Kate hated, it was all she was, while her boyfriend was the kind of guy to love yesterday and tomorrow but never today.
Rebecca had had a lot of work to do. It was rare for her to go out even on a Friday during the school year, and she’d stayed out too late as it was, reveling in the easy approval her date had lavished upon her. She had let her guard down slowly, sensing in an odd comment here and there that he was the kind of man who was expert at winning women but inept at knowing the landscape of their hearts and minds. Yet she couldn’t help but run her fingers across that easy pleasure, the promise of his interest – to turn it gently from palm to palm.
Despite all of her rules, she had allowed him to drive her home, and then, in the car outside what was meant to be her home, his face had changed rapidly from boyish charm to animalistic aggression. He had ripped the zipper off her coat, pulled her breast hard towards the door, grabbed her hair by the fistful and pressed against her.
Rebecca was a writer. She was supposed to have a way with words, to be a bright analytical mind. But as her mind had sharpened in school, it had become duller in her personal life. The more she came to understand other people’s perspectives, the less she knew of her own.
And he was so very swift, and so very strong, and the words caught where they shouldn’t have, still loose in form. She was shocked from her body, thinking only of the next second, the next minute, the next breath, of letting him do what he had to if only it meant what had begun could soon end.
Somehow without knowing it – maybe it was all those words doing in her arms what they could not in her tongue – she gathered the strength to push him from her chest and roll out the car door, thanking him weakly for dinner. He watched her walk up the steps – she could feel his eyes following the sashay of her hips – and she thought, “There are still one hundred and seventy-five papers to grade.”
And then there had been Kate on the couch.
The space around her housemate’s eyes was blackened and hollowed. A pile of tissues ringed the coffee table, and on the television, Doctor Phil whirled webs of largely unsubstantiated schlock. They were too poor for a DVR, but Kate made good use of her library card, checking out five seasons of Doctor Phil and Oprah at a time. She often came home at three in the morning and switched the television on right outside of Rebecca’s door, pulling pots and pans from the kitchen and running the tap until dawn. She had no choice, she’d told Rebecca. She worked three jobs and went to school, and when else was she going to eat?
The fight had happened earlier that evening. Her boyfriend wasn’t rich but he was spoiled, living in a house his parents had sacrificed their retirement to buy. He didn’t know what it was to struggle like Kate. She had no money and no family to encourage her. Her mother, when she’d been in the picture, has been controlling and manipulative, her father too old to intervene. She’d learned how to survive while surviving. How to keep a VCR in working condition in the DVD age. How to delegate her delegations, pick up free food at department meetings, run her own audits and clip coupons on Saturday nights. Because Kate, she did it - kept going, kept breathing, kept walking down the sole path that had unfolded in front of her.
But survival was not happiness, and this her boyfriend simply could not understand. When she cried, he told her to calm down, and he left the room. When she was calm and articulate, he told her he couldn’t see what she was saying and so she must be crazy, and then she’d scream at him and lose all logic and seem crazy. The less he heard her, the louder and more repetitive her voice became.
This was her doing just as much as the boyfriend’s. She had learned in childhood that if she did not determine her boundaries, they would be determined for her. There were rules – rules about who spoke and who was spoken to, and so she was always on patrol, even with Rebecca. If she did not tell Rebecca that the big spoons were for the left spot and the small spoons for the right, the kitchen would descend into disorder. If she did not tell Rebecca to keep the curtains drawn in the living room, the heat would fog the windows and the bills would rise beyond what she could pay. If the water bill was too high, she had to accuse Rebecca before Rebecca could accuse her.
There had to be someone to blame. And so she shouted at Rebecca, who shook and stuttered and lost her words, and she shouted at her boyfriend, who told her to calm down, and so when he cut things off for the third time that year, she had wanted Rebecca to speak in “we.” To say, “He’s an asshole, men are assholes, see what they do to us?”
But Rebecca didn’t believe he was an asshole. She felt as in her books matters of the heart were more complex than that, and that Kate lacked the ability to look inside. She didn’t believe in good people and bad people, just different people who couldn’t always find the right words with which to understand one another.
And she was so tired. She could feel the ache where that man had pulled her hair. She could feel Kate’s pain as her own pain – knew that if she answered the phone when the man called her tomorrow, she would stutter and shake and cry and he’d tell her to call back when she’d calmed down.
She didn’t tell Kate about the date. Something similar had happened months before and Kate had said, “You need to get better at asserting yourself,” and then marched off with her laundry basket as if it was as easy to implement as it was to see. Kate had attended therapy once several years ago, and was still tossing terms around as if she understood them. She used “I feel” statements as an abdication of responsibility, saying things like, “I feel this is all your fault.”
Instead, last night Rebecca listened to Kate, told her stories from moments in her own life that seemed similar. She applied the same theoretical frameworks she used to analyze Villette and Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and scoured her mind for arch Austen witticisms. She tried to push from Kate’s mind the trend of people leaving – her boyfriend, her family, and all the many roommates who’d moved in, changed the order of things, finished graduate school before she’d finished undergrad, gotten married, left the state, abandoned her.
At three in the morning, Kate had stopped crying and hugged Rebecca.
“You’re an amazing person,” she said. “I hope you never leave. We’re not the kind of girls who give up on things, right?”
We. Us. Together.
“Yes,” Rebecca had said, both because she wanted it to be true and she wanted to go to sleep. It was one in a long line of points Rebecca had ceded in hopes they wouldn’t gather and work against her down the line. Kate had marched downstairs in her heavy, resigned way without brushing her teeth. Rebecca closed the door to the bathroom, stood in front of the mirror and lifted her shirt. Purple bruises in the shape of fingers were rising on her small, pert breast. She washed her face, slipped under the covers and tried to get warm.
It was nearly noon now and still there was no sign of Kate. Her room had no real ceiling, pipes lacing from one side to the next, and the image of Kate hanging from one of them flickered across Rebecca’s mind. She wondered if she should go down there with something sharp or maybe with her cell phone so she could call the paramedics, but it was too gruesome a thought, too overblown and overdramatic to be true. Just like Rebecca to worry about things she wasn’t supposed to worry about. And besides, they’d been up so late, and Kate tended to call in sick after her boyfriend broke up with her, so Rebecca felt justified in not tiptoeing down the basement stairs and checking in.
Instead, she made her way into the kitchen, passing cupboards full of Goodwill pots and Goodwill pans and Goodwill plates and Goodwill cups on her way to the broom closet. She emptied the bucket of the cleaning supplies they stored inside of it, poured in a capful of Pine Sol, carried it to the sink and filled it to the top.
There was a chore chart above the microwave, splitting tasks into two: surfaces and floors; bathroom and walls. In Seattle, there were few days without moisture, and it seemed every month during chore time Rebecca found another patch of green blooming from the wall. Kate had taught her how to mop these patches with bleach back before Rebecca had begun to spend such long hours in her cramped TA’s office to avoid encountering Kate and being told what to do.
And Kate often told Rebecca what to do. She had done so earlier this week, when Rebecca had returned home early from a long meeting with her thesis advisor in which she was encouraged to reexamine her entire thesis from a more historically repressed perspective.
“This house is filthy,” Kate had seethed. “You really need to do your chores before this house goes to hell.”
Cleaning, to Kate, was all out war. It was her way of preventing nature from creeping in. There could be order in her life if the counters were clean and the floors polished.
But last month Kate had failed to do the surfaces and floors which were now Rebecca’s responsibility, and though she knew the date for this month’s chore time had come and passed, Rebecca hadn’t wanted to do two months worth of work. Rebecca had tried to tell Kate this in previous months when the same thing had happened, but Kate had gotten loud and angry and reminded Rebecca that she worked three jobs and was struggling through school and she was having difficulties with her boyfriend. Rebecca had put her foot down this time, told Kate she wasn’t lifting a finger until Kate did too, but when Kate was as depressed as she was last night, she spilled warm laundry onto her bed and didn’t move for hours. Chores became a physical impossibility.
“It’s too much,” she croaked, running her tongue across cracked lips. “I want to do it well.”
Rebecca felt differently. To her, cleaning was a reminder that a house was an ecosystem in which some creatures stomped and others were stomped upon. Sliding furniture aside to sweep the floor below, she saw all manner of domestic war crime: bed legs punching, office chairs scraping, talons scratching. She had seen once in the kitchen a moth clinging to the green side of a sponge, sucking at what little water remained in the dry, hard pad. Its wings were grey and paper thin, yet she could feel the full weight of their movements. It was somehow different than the spider she had caught dangling over the shower just a few days back, or the ants that encircled their fruit bowl. There was no panicked retreat up a zipline, no pheromone alert to tip off the rest of the tribe. There was just the slow withering, the crumbling into dust. She had left the sponge where it was, hoping time, if not water, would wash the scene away.
With no sign of Kate, Rebecca ran the mop over the seventies-style linoleum, wondering if her strokes were doing anything to alter the dingy surface. She stopped here and there to chip away at a piece of macaroni, roots sunk deep into the countertop. She sprayed the glass with cleaner, practiced her circular scrub, then turned back to the floors.
At two o’clock, Rebecca stopped to rest her arms. In the back of the kitchen, a small, unscreened window looked out onto the alleyway. She balanced the mop against the counter, pressed her nose to the glass, and projected films of a different world and a different life onto the yard. In two moss-coated chairs, she saw not the spider’s web but an older version of herself, clinking china tea cups with someone warm and knowing beneath that old, bare gnarled tree. She saw the knotted ground ridged with lush leaves. She saw the bins, which normally flickered morosely in and out of the morning fog, sitting neatly in their resting spots, free from rot and debris.
She thought of what it would be like not to need a home, to live in a kinder, gentler world than the one whose cold regularly soaked her jeans. She saw herself chirping with the birds in the cracked bath, skimming her finger across the cool surface, then plunging it deeper into a pile of stones; remembering what it was like to be joined with things. Holding, holding, holding, until the stairs began to shudder beneath angry soles and the basement door flung open. The surface of her fantasy rippled in the birdbath and froze hard against the nail. She ripped free before too much of her could be caught there, then turned to find Kate glowering at her from the stove.
Kate’s pajamas were clean but frayed around the edges. There was a hole in the knee, which she had patched with an old sock. A fresh sore split her bottom lip – yet another wound from a boy in her youth who had betrayed her trust and left her permanently marred.
“Are you feeling any better?” Rebecca asked, and her voice shook as she said it. Kate kept on staring at her, then rolled her eyes.
“You’re so loud,” she growled. “I was trying to sleep.”
She turned wide like a trailer truck and slammed the door to the bathroom. Rebecca wrapped her fingers back around the mop, closed her eyes, pictured petals in that old gnarled tree, poking first through green camouflage, then unfurling into the day – defiant capillaries beating red against black sky.
Kate left after an hour in the shower and an hour to do her hair. She was five hours late for her shift, and Rebecca wondered if she’d lose her job. She finished the upstairs soon after and slipped quietly into the basement. Even though she knew Kate was gone, it felt like she was intruding. The washing machine and dryer were down here, and Rebecca had become well-practiced at dashing below with her basket, dumping Tide into the bowl, pulling back the dial and sprinting back upstairs.
It was cold and lightless down there, but she was determined to be thorough. She started by the door, shaking out dried dirt and frayed leaves from the mat and sweeping them into the bin. She went back upstairs for the all-purpose cleaner and a fresh roll of paper towels, and scrubbed the dust from the paint-chipped walls.
When she got to the dryer, Rebecca wrapped her arms around the ancient white body and strained her muscles until it budged. Behind it sat the kind of dust that’s taken years to settle, congeal, and cake. She chipped at it with her fingernails until something unexpected caught her eye – a yellowed roll of paper, tucked behind a rusted pipe. She pulled it loose with the tips of her fingers, not wanting the wet of her yellow kitchen gloves to bleed into the surface. Then she pulled the gloves from her fingers, laid them across the grey basin that sat next to the washing machine, smoothed the paper out flat, and recognized the layout of the house stamped white onto its blue surface.
There was something intriguing to her in these neat lines. It occurred to her that the rectangles here were more than just a shape – they were an organizing principle, one that began in the architect’s mind as an exploration in the politics of survival, destined from gestation to battle nature, create order amongst dueling forces-first geometric, then elemental. So clean, so neat. No clutter in those empty spaces, no mold or rot or dust or junk.
It seemed both endearingly naïve and a clear expression of denial. Nowhere was there acknowledgement of the ways in which the house’s dimensions would change with stomping and slamming inhabitants, with weather, and with time – how the rectangle’s ninety would warp from reality to ideal. How the floors would sag, the foundation sink, the eaves shift, the windows stick, the straight walls bend. How life would come to be defined by the battle with the incline.
After several minutes, she rolled the prints up and threaded them back through the rusted pipe, as if that were the slot the architect had set aside for them.
It was five fifteen, and Rebecca had finished just about all of the chores. She could feel a gnawing at her stomach and her bones, and she ached for a shower’s steam. But as she turned back to the stairs, she felt a tug to look back at Kate’s room, which she was normally too busy avoiding to examine closely. Kate’s door, which sat just behind a bare bulb and next to the shelving that stored their suitcases, was propped open. This seemed new to Rebecca. Kate kept her room hidden, though she spoke of it often when lecturing Rebecca about how much she suffered in her windowless dungeon down below.
Rebecca knew it was wrong to enter Kate’s room without her permission, but how could she know Kate hadn’t entered her own? She had seemed to know a lot about it when Rebecca had first moved in and finished decorating, and she had complimented her wistfully on her Ikea bed and Target wall hangings, which had seemed cheap to Rebecca and the parents who bought them for her, but were a luxury to Kate. It wasn’t like she was going to touch anything, and besides, Kate wouldn’t be home for hours.
Rebecca pushed open the door and slipped inside.
The room was as small as Kate had made it out to be. It jutted up against the room next door, which took up three quarters of the length and would have made a much better rental yet remained unfinished and filled with boxes. This struck Rebecca as being somewhat unfair to Kate. The room would have been dark except for the light Kate had left on, and cold except for the space heater she had kept on, too.
On her bed there was a pile of clean laundry. One of Kate’s jobs was at Victoria’s Secret, and she was passionate about caring properly for one’s delicates. There was something whimsical in the way she had hung them to dry across her room. A chain of triple Ds dangled from the ceiling fan, clasps joined like calloused hands. Large panties swung from the hangers; garter belts heaved against a silhouetted bed frame. It was an aerial circus of plus-sized undergarments.
This was the side of Kate Rebecca loved. Despite lacking the body of a dancer, she had majored in the subject at school. There was something romantic about this. She was poor and working long nights to pay for a degree that would make her little money but that she could not live without. Even though Rebecca was one of the sole recipients of the anxieties this career choice caused, she couldn’t help but smile through Kate’s many dance recitals. She loved how happy and full of life Kate seemed both on stage and laughing with the other dancers when they came back to the house for a casserole. On nights like those, she glowed even without her makeup. Her sallow skin was rouged, her greasy hair styled, her blemished lips plump and pristine.
Amongst Kate’s undergarments, Rebecca could see Kate in another room – one with a window and a skylight. She could see her tiptoeing across the sill, arms stretched into an L. One step, two step, then a great fall into the armpit embrace of acrobatic brassieres. Twirling above a stairwell, bending her leg into a four, swinging through the window and into the stars. The remains: red leather heels, pointing somewhere, somewhere. Just where, who could know?
Rebecca breathed in the fresh smell of detergent and pushed past a slinky piece of lingerie so she could explore the back of the room. There was even more disorder here, watches and rings and lipstick scattered across a card table. Rebecca could barely make out the outline of a dial phone with a twisted cord. Kate couldn’t afford a cell phone, so she’d made Rebecca split the bills for a landline. Next to the phone Rebecca noticed a card. She licked her lips and folded it between her fingers, bringing it close to her nose so she could read it without her glasses.
A bland sounding name was written there, along with a number and the words, “Rental Agent.” Written in neat lettering on the back:
Nice meeting you the other day! Contact me soon so we can find you a living situation better suited to your needs.
Rebecca read it three times before the meaning sunk in. She read it again and again and when she couldn’t read it anymore, she sunk her head into her chapped hands. Her sinuses filled with the smell of Clorox and her breast ached. She thought of all the little hypocrisies that had accumulated along the way: the nighttime cooking despite the pleas for quiet; the long showers despite complaints about the water bills. She remembered now Kate confiding during one of those effervescent moods after a dance performance that she and her boyfriend had had sex on the dining room table after the last time they’d made up, and that she’d forgotten to spray it down with Lysol. And Kate was the one looking for a new place?
After half an hour, the light bulb flickered and popped and the room went dark. Rebecca sighed and pulled out her phone for light. She had one new email and one new text – one from her adviser, one from the guy from last night. She closed them both without reading them, stood as if to leave, then sat back down and held the card to her cell phone.
Rebecca dialed the number slowly, methodically, breathed in deeply, and pushed send. When the agent answered, the words caught in Rebecca’s mouth. She stuttered, shook, and cried.
Kate returned an hour later, slamming the door so hard it rattled the entire house. This was often the manner in which Rebecca was startled from sleep in the middle of the night. Kate was mad about something and hungry as hell and pulled onto the counter every pot and pan she could find. Rebecca knew without seeing that Kate was cooking starch, starch, and more starch. French fries (both sweet and white); spaghetti (several styles, all styles); white bread smothered butter and in garlic salt.
Kate wasn’t going to be in a talking mood. She was going to want to zone out in front of the television, drawing her hoodie around her face and shoveling food into her mouth. But Kate was never in the mood for talking when Rebecca was, and her schedule was so odd, Rebecca had to take advantage of her being in the house.
When Rebecca told Kate she was leaving, Kate didn’t listen. She heard the sound of Rebecca’s voice and took it as her own opportunity to list off the many chores Rebecca had been neglecting. Rebecca stuttered and shook, chasing around the ends of words.
But this time, she’d brought cheat notes. She had written them on the back of an early draft of her thesis, which barely resembled the one saved on her hard drive now. She took out her glasses and read from them directly – fluidly, if not confidently so. She could feel Kate’s disdain for her as she read. She knew Kate thought this was ridiculous. How could she not speak when spoken to?
“Spit it out,” Kate said, interrupting her. “You’ve really got to learn to assert yourself.”
But the words on the page stated only the facts of her moving, not the reasons why. In her head she chased a concept for which there weren’t yet words. It was one thing to assert oneself, another entirely to do so with someone like Kate in the room. It was the falsities of habitat she was feeling. There was no shelter in this house. She was told to raise her fists and fight when she had been taught to leave her shield with her shoes and her umbrella at the door. She didn’t want to assert herself – not all the time, not in her home. That was what the world was for. She wanted home to be a hearth by which she could peel off her layers and warm herself. And as for the world, she wanted that to be different too.
But there were no words to say these things. Instead Rebecca grunted and groaned, opened her mouth and swore.
If only Kate had thrown something at her, bruised her physically so she had something to point to. But instead, the more irate Rebecca grew, the calmer Kate became. A smile twitched on her lips – the bare outlines of a twisted kind of empathy.
“Let’s continue this discussion,” she said, “when you’ve calmed down.”
Rebecca didn’t calm down. She punched a wall, slammed out the door, and sobbed into the rain.
Kate watched her leave from the living room window. She stood wide and strong at first, then let her shoulders roll down into her frame. Rebecca disappeared around the corner and Kate walked back to the kitchen to boil a pot of spaghetti. She stared into the water and dumped the sauce in before the noodles had been properly drained.
Everyone – everyone – left in the end.
Rebecca wandered the neighborhood, not even attempting to control herself. She yanked her hair back into the ponytail, winced, remembered, and cried even harder.
She thought of another kind of home – one with wide windows through which she could watch the world go by without having to enter it. She saw a narrow skylight, her own form mounting the stairs below.
She was broken, the soles of her feet ripped raw from running too long in bare feet on rough terrain. But she took them one by one, mounted them anyway. She climbed onto the banister, and tiptoed across it, stretching her arms into an L. She lost balance, righted herself, sighed from her stomach. With each step, another red stamp onto the pristine white surface.
It was dark by the time she returned. Kate was nowhere to be found, either reunited with her boyfriend or tucked away into her room below. A pot of spaghetti was crusting on the coffee table.
Rebecca ran her fingers through the junk that sat there, fished out a pen and a piece of paper and wrote the only words she could think of. She laid the note where they piled the mail and Kate was sure to see it. Then she closed her eyes and saw herself twirling above her stairwell, bending her leg into a four, sprouting red petals beneath her shoulder blades and swinging through the skylight.
The remains: her bloody footprints. Pointing somewhere, somewhere. To the bright blue skies and away.
Leah Kaminsky is a short story and freelance copywriter. She received her MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Washington in 2009, has placed three times in Glimmer Train top 25 lists and was nominated for inclusion in Best New American Voices, 2008. Her work has appeared on or in Blackheart Magazine, The Rumpus, Pindeldyboz, The Yellow Ham, In the Snake Magazine, Structo, Infective Ink, Defenestration and Citizen Brooklyn. She posts short-shorts and comics semi-regularly on her website, and is in the midst of launching Just Start Applications, a business, college and graduate school consultancy, located in Texas and operating mostly online.
© 2013, Leah Kaminsky