Andrea Kneeland

Shorty just ignore him. I’ve never seen this kid before in my life, but he reaches out and grabs my arm and says Shorty again. I’m too busy screaming at my boyfriend to answer him or pull my arm away. Shorty don’t worry about him. This kid can’t be older than fifteen. I finally stop screaming, refuse to look at anyone, study the map on the inside of the bus shelter instead. Don’t worry about him baby calm down what’s your number. I can’t figure out if it’s necessary to respond while I’m in the middle of breaking up with my boyfriend. It seems unreasonable, but I’ve always avoided confrontation with politeness so I lower my voice to a moderate speaking level. No, thank you, I say. He keeps his fingers clutched tight around my arm. My boyfriend reaches for my other arm. DON’T FUCKING TOUCH ME, I scream. My boyfriend moves away from me, lets go of me, but the kid still doesn’t. Shorty you need a ride? Another kid wearing a gold grill pulls up in front of the bus station in a shitty little Nissan. They think I’m angry enough to get into their car.

Andrea Kneeland is the author of How to Pose for Hustler (Civil Coping Mechanisms) and The Translations (Sententia Books), both out this month. More work can be read here.