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My Mother in the Car
by Claudia Smith


We'd owned the Ford Explorer for three months before I discovered it was inhabited by my mother's spirit. I won't waste your time going into too much detail over the initial discovery, the fear that I was losing my mind. I was the sane one, the only daughter born to an unwed teenage mother, the calm in the storm. Impossible that I could be going crazy, I decided. I still haven't told anyone about Mom in the car.

"What kind of a name is Humphrey, anyway?" Mom asks after I drop Humphrey off at work. Humphrey is my husband. "Nobody that young should be called Humphrey. The name suits him, though. He's a seventy two year old man trapped in a thirty two year old body."

"Don't start," I tell her. Why does she have to pick on him? When I picture her husband, his rat colored hair pulled back into that skinny ponytail, his ferret eyes - it makes me sick to my stomach to remember. His knuckles were thick and hairy. I don't know how she could stand those fingers caressing her flesh.

"You could do better, sweetheart," she says.

"Mom, could you wait until I get to my exit? I am trying to concentrate here. I'm on the freeway, for God's sake." She scolded me yesterday for talking on my cell phone, but she doesn't see anything wrong with harping at me when I'm driving.

The truth is, I love it that she's with me. We were not that close before she showed up here in the car. In fact, she didn't speak to me for almost five years. She cut off from me my junior year of college. She feels bad about that, I know. But it annoys me when she criticizes Humphrey. He was there for me my junior year, when I had salmonella after eating bad chicken, and he helped put me through my senior year of college. She didn't even send me a lousy Hallmark card for my graduation. Where was she? Off screwing around with my sleazy ex-stepfather Jasper. Humphrey and I have had our problems, but he's my family. I can live without my Mom's spirit, but I don't know how I'd get by without Hump.

"Such a repulsive nickname," she tells me.

"What, are you reading my thoughts again?"

"I'm your mother. I know what you're thinking," she says. The voice that inhabits the Explorer is a voice from my early childhood, the voice of her youth. Before it rasped from years of chain smoking, my mother had a voice like hot caramel. Many people thought it was her loveliest quality.

"No, you are reading my thoughts again. And that's not nice. And if you want to talk about names, well, labeling your daughter Leonie. After all, I spent my first three years of life in a trailer park outside of Hondo. You should talk, Mom."

"What does that have to do with anything? What's wrong with your name, Leonie?"

"Don't you think it's a bit extravagant?"

"It's one of the best gifts I gave you. That and your college education."


The truth is, my mother did help me out when I went to college. But I paid my rent, I got a scholarship, and I worked my butt off to pay what tuition I could. She gave me no help at all my senior year. But to hear her talk, you'd think she gave up one of her kidneys to send me to school.

I was so excited when we bought the Explorer. It's the first new car I've ever owned. Humphrey asked me to pick the color and I chose candy apple red. The first time I heard Mom's voice I was taking it for a drive out to the Llano, just for the pleasure of driving it. I had the windows rolled down and my favorite Cyndi Lauper CD blasting. I took a deep breath and inhaled the new car scent. Do you want to know what she said to me?

"Really, Leonie. An SUV? Didn't I raise you better than that? I taught you to care more for other's safety, for the environment, didn't I?"

She's such a killjoy. I was feeling so good, so in the moment, so positively in love with my life. My long hair whipped in the wind. Outside my window, the wildflowers were blooming. It was spring. I was wearing a brand new lipstick, Big Apple Red, a red that matched my new car and the Indian Paintbrush that dotted the landscape. And then she has to go and say a thing like that. While I'm driving about eighty five miles an hour. I nearly ran off the road, I was so startled.

Today I have a list of errands to run, so Mom and I will be spending quite a bit of time together.

"I'll be back in a couple of hours," I tell her.

"Don't watch too much junk television," she instructs.

"I'm going to have some coffee and a bran muffin. And then read some Texas Monthly," I say.

"I know what you're up to," she says. She's not ready to let me go yet. When I turn off the ignition she starts the car right up again.

"Mom," I sigh.

"I'll tell you what. These are the first signs of depression. Believe me, hon, I know. You've been spending your days watching cheap talk shows and the soaps. Why don't you call about that job you want to apply for?"

"First of all, the economy sucks right now. So I doubt I'll even make the interview. And I'm not qualified." Sometimes I can't believe the way I talk to her now. When she was alive, I never would have used the word sucks in a sentence during one of our conversations. Maybe its the incredible absurdity of the situation, but I talk to her with the kind of abandon I use only when I'm having internal monologues. I know that if I was faced with her physical presence - her knowing eyes, her raised eyebrows, that withering look she used to flash me - I would never be so bold.

"You've had editorial experience."

"Mom, I was an editorial assistant for the Chronicle. I typed obituaries, organized newspapers, and fetched people their coffees. That position you are talking about calls for five years of experience."

"You sell yourself short, Leonie," she says. But I've already turned off the ignition and I'm not going to answer her this time.

She's right, of course. I've been feeling low about a lot of things lately. Humphrey and I have been trying to make a baby for three years. There's a pregnancy test in the medicine cabinet waiting for me. It's funny. Not that long ago, when I took those things, my roommate Lisa and I would pace nervously outside the bathroom, crossing our fingers and toes. "Please be negative," Lisa would say, over and over again. We'd stare at the urine soaked wand, waiting for the pink lines to appear, and those few moments seemed to last forever. Now, I take the test alone, and every time I close my eyes, as if I'm closing them against bright sunlight, and pray for a baby.

The test is waiting for me. Well, I won't take it today. I'll wait and if my period doesn't show up by tomorrow afternoon, I'll take it then.

Instead, I do a load of laundry. Humphrey's shirts are almost all dirty, and he hates waking up and finding that he doesn't have anything to wear to work. He's a salesman, and he has to look well groomed, that's part of the job. He's very careful of his appearance. He was the first man I'd ever met who actually had manicures done at the mall. Even when his clothes are dirty, they just don't stink. They smell warm and woodsy, of cologne and soap. I have to be careful with his gold-toed socks. We've had knock-down drawn-out fights over those socks. I used to roll them up and that stretched them out. They aren't cheap, those socks. That's one of the difficult parts of our relationship. Humphrey is very picky, and, frankly, much too critical sometimes. I know that. I'm aware of that. We're working on it.

After a bowl of bran flakes, one morning television show, and a big glass of juice, I brush my teeth and then inspect my face in the mirror. I try to see myself the way Humphrey sees me. I think I look good. My hair is getting shaggy, but I like the color - a warm brown streaked with cinnamon. I added the highlights myself last year when I noticed a few gray strands, and I've kept them up. I have a good body, and I maintain it well. I jog about every other morning. There is something faded about the face, though - I'm not sure I recognize myself in it the way I could a few years ago. That may sound odd - what I mean to say is, there is some spirit lost. The contours of my face are looser, the freckles across the bridge of my nose are faded, and my eyes are listless. I have my mother's eyes, more bronze than brown. Tiger gold, Humphrey used to call them. Your eyes slay me, Lay, he used to say.

Last night, when he came home, he just walked upstairs without saying a word to me. I followed him into the study and stood right in front of him as he sat down at his computer.

"Aren't you going to say hello?" I asked him.

"Hello," he said, staring into the screen of his new laptop.

"I mean, I'm starting to feel invisible here," I said to him. "Is something wrong?"

"Listen, Lay," he said, "I'm tired, I just want to relax, don't take it personal, okay?" It isn't as if he's calling me a lay. He calls me that because it is the first syllable of my name. But, the way he said it that once, you'd think that's what he was calling me. He said all of this without looking up from the computer. He was playing some fantasy game.

"Okay. Just, you know, a hello or something would be nice. A little 'Hi, Honey, I'm home.' Or even a grunt of acknowledgement. Come down when you've rescued the magic princess Galadriel or whatever her name is from the dark castle. Or when I have dinner ready. Whichever comes first."

I shouldn't hover. I shouldn't cling. I should follow my mother's advice, I should wake up early, go and get myself a good haircut at the salon, buy myself an expensive tube of lip gloss, and pound the pavement until I land a job that any college graduate would be proud to have.

I haven't worked in a year and a half. I quit working at the newspaper a few days after I allowed myself to get so drunk at the weekly happy hour gathering that I ended up puking a gallon of margaritas, hurricanes, nachos and quesadillas into my boss's lap. I ruined her chocolate brown Ann Taylor pants. Enough said.

It was Humphrey who wanted to buy an SUV. I wonder if my mother would have come back to me had we chosen another car. Is she being punished for her sins, was it Karma that stuffed her soul into the kind of vehicle she abhorred? Or, is she simply inhabiting the Explorer because it is mine?

"You're going out like that?" my mother asks me as soon as I climb into the car.

"What? I'm just going to the grocery store, Mom."

"You could at least put on some of that red lipstick you have in your purse. The terra cotta shade? Orangey reds look best on you."

I ignore her advice. After I've pulled out of the driveway, I go to use the lighter for my cigarette and it won't work.

"Cut it out, Mom," I say.

"No, m'am. I certainly won't. I will not support this filthy habit of yours. It's what killed me, you know."

"What I do with my body is my own business. Besides, I'm down to half a pack a day," I tell her. I go to switch on the left turn signal and it won't work.

"What the hell, Mom? I need to go to the store."

"Not yet. We're going somewhere else first."


"You'll see."

"You'd better give me directions, then."

"I'll take you there, sweetheart," she says, "you just let me do the driving."

It's funny. When she was alive, she was a terrible driver. She could never concentrate on the road, because she was always too busy gabbing. Now, she has the uncanny ability to talk and maneuver this monster of a vehicle through stormy weather or noisy traffic. All I have to do is rest my hands on the steering wheel and pretend to drive.

"I need to go to the store, Mom." This is the first time she's highjacked me.

"You don't have to go this instant," she says,"I need to show you something. It has to be now."

I give in to her. I lean back, unroll the window, and close my eyes against the bright sunlight. It is still spring, but I can feel the warmth of summer creeping into the thick air.

"Don't worry, honey. Don't be nervous," she says. With my eyes closed, hearing her voice like that, I can almost convince myself that she's here, in the car, sitting next to me. She's inspecting herself in the mirror under the passenger's sun visor, or drumming her long fingernails against the dashboard.

"I'll bet you planned all of this, didn't you?" I say, "It would be just like you. Where did you get the idea from? Wacky grade B movies? Herbie Goes Bananas? Or that show you watched with me when I was a kid, because you thought David Hasselhoff was so hot?"

"You're forgetting the best show of them all," she says, "My Mother the Car."

"I've heard of that. From what I read, it was probably the worst show ever put on television."

"It wasn't," Mom says, "I thought it was just so original. I watched it when I was a girl. Do you know who created it? Allan Burns. He went on to make the Mary Tyler Moore show."

"Sounds like you were quite a fan," I say. I open my eyes, stretch my arms a little. I look out the window. Where is she taking me? It looks as if we are going to pick up Humphrey.

"I was. I am. Do you know what it was about?"

"Of course," I say, "some old lady reincarnated as a car."

She goes on, "This lawyer, Dave, buys an old jalopy who turns out to be Agnes Crabtree, his mother. Agnes loved cars so much that she gets reincarnated as a car to help Dave and his family. But, just like Mr. Ed, the talking horse, she will only speak to Davey when he is alone."

"Sounds familiar. How do we know it all isn't in Davey's head?"

"You know you aren't imagining this, Leonie, " she says. When I rest the palm of my hand against the dashboard, I can feel the vibration of her voice. It is almost like touching her.

"Remember how much you used to love the Mr. Ed reruns when you were little?" she says," I would watch them with you every Saturday afternoon. You loved the theme song. 'A horse is a horse, of course, of course'..."

I cut her off, "You know, I read they trained that horse with shock treatments."

"I'm here to help you, honey," she says gently, "we're almost there."

She pulls into the parking lot of a huge outdoor shopping mall.

"The Arboretum? Mom? You want me to go shopping?"

She doesn't answer. She drives around for awhile, and then parks right in front of the coffee shop.

"Starbucks? You want me to get coffee? Mom, you hate Starbucks."

She doesn't answer. The keys turn in their slot, and the motor dies. I sit there, hands on the wheel, waiting for her instructions. Then I see why we are here.

There he is, my husband, sitting right there in the Starbucks. He is gazing out the window, looking winsome and handsome. There's a half-emptied glass of some frothy coffee concoction in front of him. I like seeing him this way, I like watching him when he doesn't know he's being observed. It is similar to watching him sleep. I love to watch him sleep, it makes me feel as if I have a special window into his dreams. He catches my eyes, and I feel a tingle in my throat. He has such great eyes. They are a startling shade of blue, the bright flame blue of a lit pilot. When I met him I'd thought that he wore colored contacts. That's how other worldly they are.

But it isn't me he sees. He is looking at his reflection in the glass. He rubs his hands over his chin, feeling for stubble. Then, he turns away.

A woman walks up to him, and he breaks into a beautiful smile. She is slim, Asian, gorgeous. She's wearing a long red skirt and a short-cropped blouse that hugs her arms and small breasts. He stands, and then puts his arms around her in an embrace. She lifts herself up on tiptoe to reach his face, to press it against her own. When she lifts her arms I see a flash of her lovely abdomen. Her belly button sparkles pink. She must be wearing a little pink rhinestone navel ring.

I watch them for what feels like hours, but it probably only lasts about ten minutes. Humphrey is flushed, excited. When the woman leans over to wipe some froth from his upper lip, I reach up and touch my own lip, and feel a warm shiver rising throughout my body. She is wearing half a dozen thin bracelets on one arm; they glow against her skin. She leans forward, and I imagine my husband's breath, warm and thick between them. Their table is pushed right against the window, and I can see everything. The woman slips a foot out of her flip-flop and slides it up his pant leg.

My mother backs out of the parking place.

"Why? Why did you show me that?" I say in voice that is barely audible. She can read my thoughts, anyway, I don't know why I even bother to speak to her.

"I know. That must have been hard," she says.

This can't be real. I'm out of my mind.

"You can accept that your mother is a car and yet you think that the possibility that Humphrey is fucking this woman is insane?" she asks me.

"Get out of my head, Mom. Maybe the fact that I think my mother is a talking car is an indication that I am insane, and seeing Humphrey with another woman is just one of my more plausible delusions."

My hands are shaking. I haven't cried in years, and here it comes. I am gasping for air, I can feel the tears stinging my face, taste their salt.

"Why do you have to say he's fucking her? Can't you think of a gentler way of putting it?"

"Well, you seem to feel the need to use foul language with me. I don't see why I can't call it as I see it," she says. She is speeding down the highway. I take a deep breath. I can stop crying if I concentrate on the road.

"Where the hell are you taking me now? To see the ghost of Christmas future? What other horrible sights do you have in store, Mother?"

"Shhh," she says, "just cry, sweetheart. I'm taking you somewhere I know will make you feel better."

"Why? Why did you show me that?" I ask her again. The initial shock is wearing off and now I feel rage. Not at my husband. At her.

"Leonie. Listen to me. You are very smart, but your feelings lead your head sometimes. You have to feel something, to understand it on a visceral level, in order for it to sink in. You would have found out, eventually. From some undeleted email, or a credit card bill. But you would have ignored the evidence."

Nice use of the word visceral, Mom.

"Thank you," she says, "I may not be a college girl like you but I read."

"No, thank you," I say, "now that you've helped me understand things on a visceral level, you've completely eviscerated me."

She laughs.

"Oh, this is hilarious, isn't it Mom? I'm glad you find this all so amusing."

"I can't help it. You're such a clever girl sometimes," she says.

I want to get the hell away from her but I don't want to go home. Besides, if I tried to she'd probably lock the doors on me.

She turns on the radio. Willie Nelson is singing Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.

"I used to sing that to you," she says.

"I know," I say.

She drives us through 2222. Soon we are in the hill country. Wildflower season is almost over, but there are still a few stray bluebonnets. I hang my head outside the window and let the wind blow my hair back.

"Hey, are you nuts!" someone in a banana yellow Beetle screams. She honks her horn.

I stick my head back in, place my hands on the wheel, and pretend to drive. Once we pass Buchanan Dam I know where she is taking me.

"I think I'm going to vomit," I tell her.

"Just close your eyes and listen to the radio. We'll be there soon," she says. I could swear, by her tone of voice, that she is cooing to a baby.

When the car stops I open my eyes. We are parked right in front of the Llano River, at the old ranch where Jasper used to take us camping. She unrolls all of the windows and I can hear the water rushing. The river is shallow, now, clear and sparkling. You can see straight through its little falls to the pink granite riverbed.

"You loved coming here when you were a little girl," she says.

"It's nice, Mom."

"Did you see the llanite along the highway cut on Texas 16? I drove us through there."

"I wasn't paying attention. But I remember it," I tell her. Llanite is a rare type of brown granite with sky blue crystals and rusty pink feldspar. It is found nowhere else in the world but Llano County. When I was a child, I kept a gem collection in a shadow box above my dresser. I loved this area of the river, because of all that sparkling granite. Jasper gave me a piece of llanite for my collection. I still have it, tucked away somewhere in a box in the storage shed at home.

The sky is on fire. Is it really so late? The cicadas begin to sing.

"Is he in love with her?" I ask.

"Leonie," she says. She doesn't say more.

"It's because she can give him a baby," I whimper.

"Don't whine. It is very unbecoming," she says.

I wish I could see her face because I swear if she was here in the flesh I would slap her. Who is she to talk about what is becoming? It wasn't becoming of her to fuck Jasper so loudly that the neighbors had to complain about all the shrieking, either.

"I'm sorry," she says, "I just don't think he's worthy of you. And that isn't why. You know, deep down inside, that isn't the reason."

"This isn't the first time," I say, "and this isn't the first woman."


"You act like I am nothing more than a baby making machine to him. But that's not true. I want a baby, too."

"Like this? You're worth more than that. He's a hollow man. With enough intelligence to have an inkling of that fact. And he hates you for being what he is not."

"You're too hard," I say, "I love him. I love him." I'm crying again. I want her to hold me and I want to slap her. I don't know what I want.

"I'm never going to get pregnant," I know, now that I've said it out loud, that this is probably true.

"Maybe not," she says, "maybe not. But you don't have to get pregnant to be a mother."

"Humphrey wants his own flesh and blood."

"Yes," she says, and she sounds kinder, wiser, than she ever did in life, "I was the same way. But your heart is bigger than that, baby."

"Will he leave me? Will he leave me for that woman?"

"That man is never going to leave you. If anyone does the leaving, Leonie, it is going to be you."

I lean forward and hug the steering wheel. My legs are sticking to her vinyl seats. A bug flies through one of the windows, buzzes around my head, and then, eerily, is carried by a force other than the wind and splatters against the windowpane.

"Did you do that?" I ask her.

"I didn't want you to get bitten. You're allergic to wasps," she says.

"How do I know you aren't some bad spirit? Oh, Mom. I wish you were here. I mean, really here."

"I can't tell you what to do, but now you know. Now you can't say you didn't know. Why do you let yourself be so degraded? You are living in limbo. He's sucking your lifeblood away."

God, she is so smug. Who the hell does she think she is?

"You are a fine one to talk. What about you? How you treated me? He's my family. You aren't. You fucking knew what that pedophile was doing to me."

I remember the first time Jasper kissed me, sucked me into him. My mouth opened to his and I could taste his mossy breath. His tongue searched and tasted and then pushed against my loose tooth. He lifted the tooth with his tongue and wriggled it. And I giggled.

"Well," she says, "I did know. And I didn't. I did and I didn't."

That - I can't think of a word heinous enough for that motherfucker. I can't even allow myself to think about him, or I'm filled with a kind of molten hatred that would probably send me into cardiac arrest if I didn't push that vision of him away. But I remember it now. Coming home from school to find him sitting on his grass matt, naked, back straight, sitting Indian style, waiting for me. He would sneak me Pixie Sticks and Mars Bars, the candy my mother wouldn't allow. How was I supposed to know what the pretty little pill, faded pink, the color of baby aspirin or Now and Laters, was going to do to me? How it would fill my senses, as he pulled the soft sweater over my head, and then handed me my old stuffed rabbit, as I curled into his arms. How soft and warm I would feel in his arms.

"Oh God, Leonie," she says.

"There's so much more. You remember, don't you? That first summer I came home? He slipped me a roofie." When I woke, my muscles ached, my lip was swollen. I was bruised and bleeding. I could taste the blood in my mouth.

He was sitting at the edge of my bed. His shit colored eyes looked down at me with contempt.

"Go ahead," he dared me, "Tell her. See who she listens to. You, or me."

"I told you, Mom," I say, "I told you. And you just sat there and looked right through me, like I wasn't there."

We were in the kitchen, having a "family meeting." Her back was rigid, her jaw clenched, and I knew, as soon as I saw those pursed lips, she had already made up her mind. She knew what I was about, Jasper had told her. I was spoiled and petty and selfish. Did I know how much money Jasper had spent on my education? Didn't I know that he was on my side, that she was on my side? That we were trying to be a family? How dare I get involved with some sadist, allow myself to have rough sexual intercourse, and then blackmail Jasper in order to get money for the dorm rooms. Oh yes, Jasper had told her all about it.

"I know, Leonie." She sounds so sad.

"No, you don't know, Mom! You don't! You don't know what it is like to get wasted and spill your guts out at so many college parties that you start hearing people whisper about you when they see you waiting in line at the cafeteria. You don't know what its like to feel like vomiting every time you are about to have an orgasm. I know that much. The whole apartment complex could hear you coming. You don't know what it's like to get the flu, and want your mommy, and dial her number, then hear the phone click as soon as you say hello."

"Listen to me sweetheart. Just listen. I didn't know. But I do know now. I can feel what you feel, I can feel those eyes, those two black holes, bearing down on me, I can taste the blood that you tasted. I'm changed. I'm not a creature of flesh and blood anymore. When I was alive, my spirit was linked to my body. I was a lot like you are now. I was passionate, and I allowed physical love to cloud my judgement..."

"Shut up!" I'm screaming at her now, "Shut up shut up shut up! I don't want to hear about your lust for that motherfucker." I bang my fist against her windshield, and feel my knuckles throb.

I need a cigarette, bad. I try to use the lighter again and she won't let me.

"Stop it, Mom. You think I don't know what this is? Your great big fantasy? I'm inside you again and you can control me. Well, I've got news for you. I don't have to battle my way out of your cunt to get away from you this time. All I have to do is open the damn door."

I climb out of the Ford and slam the door. I half expect her headlights to switch on, for her to follow me. But she doesn't. I walk out to the water and skip a few rocks. When I turn around, for a moment, and glimpse her in the deepening light I have to laugh. It am struck by the realization that her candy apple red coating is the exact shade of her favorite lipstick.

The mosquitoes are biting so I return to her. I sit in the front seat, my feet propped up on the dashboard. She lets me use the lighter this time and the cigarette calms my nerves.

"You chose him over me, Mom," I finally say.

There is a long pause.

"I'm not haunting him now, am I?"

My cell phone rings. It is Humphrey. He doesn't know where I am.

"Let him wonder," my mother instructs, "don't answer it."

I obey her. He tries again. I turn off the ringer.

"I love you," she says.

"You did come back from some kind of afterlife to possess a 2002 Ford Explorer," I say, "that's an extraordinary thing."

My stomach growls.

"Oh dear," she says, "you haven't had anything to eat since breakfast, have you? And you're tired. Crying will take a lot out of you. Why don't you take a nap? I'll sing you a lullaby. Then when you wake up I'll drive you to a nice diner and you can fill your tummy."

"Sleep out here? Don't you think that's dangerous?"

"I'll protect you," she says. The back seat unfolds.

"I can't sleep without a blanket," I say.

"You'll be warm. I'll see to that," she says.

So I climb into the back and curl up. I am surrounded by something that is better than a blanket; it feels like the softest, fluffiest clouds

"I get it now, Mom. I'm in your womb. You are taking care of me again," I say.

"Shh," she says, "close your eyes, baby girl."

I close my eyes. Her voice is rich and low.

Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the western sea.
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea!

I can feel her fingertips stroking my cheeks, I can smell her clean scent, a mixture of her favorite perfume, China Rain, and laundry detergent. Her voice fills the car like a light, lovely mist. I haven't felt so comforted in years.

Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.

The windows roll up and I can hear raindrops beating against the windowpane. The melody fades and I can feel her breath on my face. It feels like a fresh breeze stirring above me. She rocks me in her lap. And I am calm, and I am relieved, and I am filled with a sense of possibilities.

Nobody else can make me feel this way. She is, after all, my mother.



From The Princess
Alfred, Lord Tennyson)



About the Author

Claudia Smith attended the Writing Seminars program at Johns Hopkins. Since then she's worked at a teacher in Beijing, China and as a librarian in Austin, Texas. She has stories forthcoming online in hobart, Pindeldyboz, the Salt River Review, and Word Riot.