I hope you choke.

Choke on that soft pretzel, like you choked on those words you couldn't bring yourself to say.

You did it. You're a big boy.

You cheated, now pay the price.

More than you did for that three dollar pretzel you push past your lips.

I hope the salt stings, seeping into the wounds of a broken heart.

Oh, wait. They can't.

You're not the one rejected on the sidewalk, scrolling through your blurred contacts list, hoping someone will take you home.

If home is where the heart is, then why have you made me a vagrant?

"Toby? Can you come get me?" I rub my eyes with the sleeve of my sweater. Remember when you said you love this sweater on me?

Remember when you said you liked it better on the floor?

I bet you say that to all the girls.

The girls that you twist round your little finger, until they're in knots, like that stupid soft pretzel.

Have you choked yet?

"Sweetie, what's wrong?"

I hate that she always knows.

I thread my hand through my hair and face the wind. I can barely hear her voice. The wind's too strong.

Any possibility it'll blow him far, far away? It's not like he's being weighted down by the guilt.

He gets into his car, tossing the pretzel wrapper on the ground.

Didn't think so.

"Toby," I quiver.

"I'll be there as soon as I can."

I force myself to go back inside. The wind is nipping at my nose, making it run (because there's no way my tears are the cause) and I need to blow it.

The napkin is rough against my face.

What, you've never seen a girl with mascara running down her cheeks before? Have the decency to look away. Avert your eyes, back to that greasy meat patty you call lunch. Let it slither down your throat to your hips, and face the truth.

It doesn't matter if you've a Barbie body, or if you stretch farther across than you do up. He's going to leave you. He's going to find another girl. One with two plastic twins blocking the sound of her heartbeat.

It's okay.

He's not looking for love anyway.

The merry go round goes round, children laughing. One day they'll learn. They'll see it's not all fun and games, and yes, somebody is going to get hurt.

"Ready to go?" I'm startled by Toby's hand on my shoulder.

"I want to be young again."

Did I just say that out loud?

I reach for another napkin, blowing my nose. She plucks it from my hold with two fingers. She's brought tissues.

Oh thank God.

I also have a craving for a soft pretzel.

"You want you go to the club tonight?" she asks.

I can have fun. I can raid my baby sister's closet, fix my makeup, fix my life.

Normally I'd say yes.


I want to curl up with a tub of cookie dough and blame my tears on whatever romantic comedy I left in the DVD player.

"I want a pretzel," I say.

The salt stings my wounds (because unlike him,mine are plentiful), but I don't stop.




The pieces settle like rocks in my stomach. Just like all of those unspoken words.

Here's four.

I hate your guts.