Momma says Jean’s just a imaginary friend but I tell Jean Momma’s just a imaginary bitch.
Jean’s a yarnhead.
Jean says that ain’t nice to repeat but it’s true, it’s what she is, and based on the pictures she draw it is clear her momma is a yarnhead also.
You gotta be careful around the scissors cause yarn don’t grow back. That’s how come Jean’s so sensitive.
Jean told me once she saw my daddy wipe his stuff with a kitchen towel.
I have to leave Jean at home when I go off to school cause otherwise the kids will be jealous about how I got a stuck clock where my brain’s supposed to be, that’s how my momma explained it and it makes sense.
The clock by my daddy’s side of the bed ain’t stuck, but it ain’t telling the time either. Noon. Midnight. Noon.
Jean tells me if I spend time fixing on details like that I’ll drive myself to drink. This our new best thing to say.
We like anything where a key is needed. Keep that secret locked up tight now, girlie.
That’s our second best thing to say.
Me and Jean play like we spies sometimes, we used a old flashlight for a while but in the daylight you don’t need no more light and in the night time we got too scared, you should only spy if you really want to find something.
And we didn’t really want to all that much.
Noon’s okay. Midnight, though.
If you take off Jean’s clothes there ain’t nothing really to see. White cloth, black thread. No bumps or creases. I pray for Jean’s body but I wasn’t born a yarnhead and that’s the cross I have to bear.
Jean and me been studying my face in the mirror, looking hard at it, and we pretty sure it’s still my face. And that is a relief.
Jean says it’s alright to grow up and get old and die without ever taking a man for your own. That’s another relief.
Jean says there’s no need to set your hair or wear red nails or spritz lilac stuff behind your ears, if somebody don’t want that kind of attention then that is a-okay.
I see my momma do all these things but it don’t seem to matter. I don’t do none of them but that don’t seem to matter either.
Jean says my daddy been throwing some of my stuff in the trash. She’s right, I know some of my stuff is gone, but I don’t fix on the details.
At school a boy named Bo asks me do I want to meet him behind the swings, there’s a brick wall we can duck down behind, I say sure cause that seems the easiest.
Recess at noon. Or midnight? One is 12, the other is 12, so ain’t they the same? All of it’s the same, what Bo got to show and what I seen at the other 12, I’d like to talk it over with Jean but like I said she ain’t allowed to school. I tell Bo about the two 12s but he ain’t listening, I saw Bo had one of them fungus nails on his pinky finger, thick and green, the button on his pants shiny as a new penny, the bell rang and I went into the little girls’ and upchucked the egg my momma fried me that morning.
At lunch I traded my sandwich for a pink pencil, cause Jean loves pencils and we never seen a pink one.
Jean says did you feel better? I say I did.
Jean says to hide, and we do, and we whisper how any minute we could pee, and I want to laugh and yawn all at once cause I feel so happy to be with Jean, but we have to keep quiet cause we’re hiding, and the first one to make a noise during loses.
We never talk about what happens if you win at hiding.
Hiding always ends with Daddy finding us.
Daddy asks me do I want to ride on his motorcycle and I say yes even though Jean says I’m a dumb bitch.
Just around the block a few times, my daddy says, and then I need you to help me out with something in the garage. I don’t listen to that last part. I go stuck clock. My face ain’t my face. I think how we’ll ride past that mailbox with the wood ducks and that flat dead cat in the road, and that house that got burned up by a drug addict. Wind in my hair, my hair that ain’t yarn.
Jean don’t have a daddy, so she don’t know. Cause how can you tell your own daddy no? You can’t. If you can I’m sorry for you.