Watertown. New York.
Yes, forty-seven years old.
Yes, an MFA in creative writing.
No, I don’t write anymore.
Yes, I teach kids.
No, I didn’t mean to go to the bathroom while lying here.
No, I don’t want to hang on.
Yes, I understand I will survive this.
No, I don’t remember a face.
No, I don’t know how this happened.
No, I don’t want to cry.
Yes, I had some drinks.
Yes, I can still feel my legs.
No, I still can’t feel my genitals.
Yes, I can see the church from the ambulance window.
No, I’ve never lost anything in the ocean.
No, I don’t know what time the cemetery closes.
No, there was not enough room when we were kids.
No, it wasn’t my mother’s fault.
Yes, I feel alone.
Yes, I believe in God.
No, I do not want to pray.
Yes, I did see a ghost once when I was ten.
No, I can’t remember the words to any songs right now.
Yes, everything is on fire.
No, I don’t want you to put it out.
Yes, everyone’s face is a blur.
No, I won’t be hungry again.
Yes, I’m done with eating for the rest of my life.
Yes, I think the driver is humming something my grand- mother used to.
No, she didn’t tell me.
Yes, I think that’s her in the car driving behind us.
No, she passed away years ago.
Yes, I understand I’ve lost blood.
Yes, I understand you may not be able to save it.
No, please don’t give me the details.
No, I don’t want to talk to the press.
No, I have no comment.
Yes, I understand I’m going to be fine.
No, I do not want to wake up after the surgery.
Yes, I’m still breathing.
No, I am no longer livable.
Yes, I’m a schoolteacher.
Yes, I’m married.
No, please don’t call her. Don’t tell her.
No, I don’t want her to see me like this.
Yes, two. Amanda and Jake. Ten and seven.
Yes, I do. Very much.
Yes, I would like to cry now.
Yes, I understand.
Yes, I am scared.
Yes, I can still feel the pain.
No, please don’t tell anyone.
No, I’m not ready.
From Any Man. Used with permission of Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright © 2018 by Amber Tamblyn.