Reasons for the Pit in My Stomach by Zoe Hanna

Broken glasses at an events center

Last year, I lost my glasses at a concert.

Someone pushed me in the mosh pit and they flew away. I watched them get stepped on while I listened to the first song.

I couldn’t see a thing, but I could hear them play my favorite songs from outside the venue. I couldn’t see through the tears, I thought I might drown from them.

I tried my hardest to convince myself that I saw an opening band that I liked, that it was worth it. But I cried in the car until the concert was over.

My friend came back with broken glasses that weren’t mine.

I guess I wasn’t the only one, and that made me smile. But they probably stayed.

They could see, because I kept my tears to myself.

Shards of a wine glass on the carpet in the living room

Last month, I was drinking wine to calm my nerves. I only drink white wine. Red wine gives me heartburn. White wine does too.

I’ve been sitting here for at least an hour, because the credits are rolling.

All I could think about was that girl.

I went on three dates with her two years ago. She stopped talking to me because I smoked weed. I didn’t cry, and I hope she didn’t either.

I bit down on the edge of the wine glass. I don’t remember doing it, but it happened. My mouth was fine but the pieces of glass never made it to the trash can. Three shards on the floor – I did that. I do a lot of things.

Two more glasses of wine, I stepped on the glass. I don’t know if it was on purpose, I can’t tell anymore.

The heartburn hurt more than the cuts in my feet.

Vomit stains covered in baking soda in front of the couch

Last week, my roommates threw a party without me. It’s okay, I was with my mom. I’d rather be with her than with the drunk strangers that were in my home.

Four of the five girls threw up from drinking too much, leaving the fifth to clean it up.

I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if I had been there. I don’t know if I would have drank at all.

Probably not, but I would’ve been left with the carnage.

I came home to stories of the night before, strange smells, leftover vodka, and dried vomit. The girl who held her liquor had been trying to clean it for the entire day.

Anything to get our deposit back.

They said they wished I had been there, I would’ve made them laugh so it wasn’t all so serious. I smiled, because I knew it wouldn’t have happened. I had been crying too much the past couple of days.

Nothing else could leave my body.


Spoiled milk on the kitchen floor

Yesterday, I cleaned out the fridge. Not the entire thing – just my part. That’s how my roommates did things, so I followed suit. Only take care of your own shit. Other people’s expirations don’t matter.

I’ve been snapped at before by one roommate about having expired food in the fridge. I smiled to myself when I saw that she had food from mid-January sitting in the door. It’s March. Maybe I should say something.

I don’t, because I never do.

My expired milk has been sitting in the fridge for two weeks. When I put the eggs, milk, potatoes, and onions in the cheap trash bag, I start to get hungry.

The bag sits in silence while I make an omelet. I have a meeting to get to.

White liquid has sprawled from the corner of the room and onto the kitchen floor. Another cheap trash bag, keeping the liquid somewhat encased. To keep it from overflowing. Maybe I need one.

I take it to the dumpster. My hands are so fucking sticky, and they smell. I can’t wash them. I got what I deserved. Silence is never rewarded.

A playbill for a show where no one came

An hour ago, I performed for the first time in seven years. Saying words into a microphone, but I said the right words. I said words that I was told to say. No choice, but I liked it. Structured speaking, followed by applause.

I could get used to it.

My family came. My roommates came. But two people didn’t.

I can’t seem to find a way to forgive them, or if I should.

I cried. I cried a lot, over those two. Five other sets of eyes had sat there, watching me intently.

But there were four eyes missing. I kept crying. They mattered most.

One of them has ignored my tears for weeks, maybe months. Yet she says I make her cry more.

The other, I thought he always noticed. He did before.

I don’t know if he’s shut his eyes, or if he’s just in another room.

One day we might fix it, but not now.

I throw the playbill on the floor, and my cat rips it to shreds.

She looks at me and sits in my lap, her paws on my face.

As if to say,

It’s time to let go.

An extra box of tissues in the basement of the library

Today, most of my tears dried up. Sometimes I still overflow, but now there are people who help me clean. They know how it feels to burst. None of them have made me cry. My cat says they never will, and I believe her.

One of them brings a box of off brand Kleenex wherever she goes. Strange but necessary.

My nose bleeds a lot. It pours out and mixes with the tears.

They understand. We have the Kleenex for a reason.