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a little bit about me

Molly Gaudry is the founder of Lit Pub and the author of We Take Me Apart, which was shortlisted for the 2011 PEN/Osterweil and was a finalist for the Asian American Literary Award for Poetry. The verse novel has been taught at Brown, Wesleyan, Cornell College, Queens College, CUNY, and other creative writing programs in the US. As of Halloween 2018, its sequel Desire: A Haunting is also available. Molly is a PhD candidate and Steffensen Cannon fellow at the University of Utah. Summers, she teaches fiction, flash fiction, and lyric essay workshops for the Yale Writers' Workshop.

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— current project —

little bits of FIT

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i told you everything…

how I kept with me the memory of the warmth and smell of your delicious stews you only made on rainy days when you had the time to let them cook and cook because all the other days you were out among the wildflowers every morning without fail, how I loved and had always remembered the tall white pitchers you filled with elaborate arrangements that you seemed able to make like magic from simple decisions of this wildflower or that wildflower, and I told you that I remembered thinking the very rooms and the wildflowers in them were even happier when you were in them too.

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van stopped, setting down the book…

and pulling her feet onto his lap, massaging, kneading, thumbs pressed into her soles. She was wearing black silk stockings with black seams up the backs of her legs—Cuban heel, thigh high, lace top. What’s on your mind? he wanted to know. I have more to offer than this, she thought, right? Gifts more meaningful than hooker stockings and stilted conversation over Christmas Eve stew? I want to tell you something, she should have said, but what came out instead was, Let me help you with the dishes before we go to bed.

When the tea house woman opened the doors for the annual masquerade ball, she found Van in blue jeans, a button down, and his Carhartt, which was disappointing for so many reasons. Nice costume. Not here for the party, Constance. When they first started sleeping together, she had realized there weren’t a lot of people who addressed others by name when talking to them. Maybe it was a professor thing, but in a two-person conversation she found its redundancy annoying and the tone of it mostly patronizing.

What do you want, Giovanni?

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the jars and ribbon, at least…

were not from Amazon but on loan from Joan’s Scraps & Crafts, which Joan and her daughters had brought over that morning. In the keeping room, sitting on the floor, the triplets formed an assembly line. Jordie attached the wire handles around the top of the jars, Jon cut and threaded the ribbon, and Jean tied. Aw, it’s like they all have little collars and leashes, Jean said, taking a picture.

no filter, said jon, just mention joan’s…

for supplies and tag the tea house. The tea house woman didn’t understand, but she thought it was sweet Jon cared enough to have negotiated a pay raise last year to be in charge of the business’s social media presence, which she had been informed was beyond sad. The tea house woman knew at least that much was true. At the time, her Twitter picture was still an egg, and she’d only written on it once—Yes.—three months after someone asked if the tea house accepted American Express.

Van was only one-eighth Portuguese but had fallen hard for the language as a young man. On their first date, he complained about his department’s decision to rename his language course Brazilian Portuguese in an effort to attract undergrads. The tea house woman, one-quarter Korean, responded, Like calling a class South Korean? He had treated her kindly, but…

she frequently felt stupid in his presence, and uneducated.

on her way to the kitchen…

she peeked in tenderly at the nursery packed full with the children of Fenwick, sprawled in various star-shaped sizes among the floor pillows she had prepared for them, watching Fantasia, which Nell had rented for the occasion, drinking Hawaiian fruit punch from plastic Sippy cups and sharing bowls of Goldfish crackers, popcorn, carrot sticks. A great sorrow welled up inside her.

and then there was his ancient next-door neighbor who,

after her daughter left for work, came outside and sat on the stoop all day. All day. She never moved. She peed there, even. Her urine had permanently stained the steps and even part of the sidewalk in front of their houses. At night, when Van watered his flower baskets, he would go out and hose off their steps, too, but the smell never really went away, and even though Sal said he couldn’t smell it Van couldn’t sleep at night in the summer when their bedroom window was open. Miserably, he dry-heaved in the bathroom, as silently as he could.

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in the second grade…

Birdie had tried to get everyone to call her Bernadette, but it didn’t stick with anyone except the tea house woman who wasn’t yet the tea house woman but had also tried to get everyone at school to call her something other than Connie by telling them she had been named after her grandfather Constantine, which was not true but even if it had been still no one would have cared, and that was the year young Connie and Birdie became blood sisters for life.


the tea house woman…

and Birdie the third went all the way back to before even pre-school, and these days all they did when they got together was get drunk enough to openly complain about what a bitch it was to bear all the responsibility of carrying on a family business in a dead-end town, after which, thoroughly drunk, they cried and remembered easier times, trading stories they both knew by heart about how Birdie the first was a sleepwalker and could usually be found in John Bostwick’s storage unit, which conveniently or not had a mattress in it, or about when the tea house woman’s mother had been the tea house woman, and how one day after a minor flood she’d found bundles of cash lining the basement walls, most likely from the tea house’s brothel days, and used the money to provide business loans to every woman who wanted to open a business on Main Street.

First of all, birdie hated the name birdie.

Second, Birdie had done what she and the tea house woman had sworn they would do when they were teenagers, and she had not named her first daughter Bernadette the fourth. There would be no more Birdie’s stuck behind the crappy linoleum counter at Birdie’s after Birdie the third retired, which was another thing—even though locals knew Birdie’s was a storage facility, tourists and truckers always got confused, most likely because of the 20-foot-high neon birdcage sign that you could see from the freeway. Behind the counter, Birdie kept a two-sided sign of her own. On one side: No Birds. On the other: No Girls. Depending on who walked in, she held it up one way or the other and either shook her head apologetically or shook it disapprovingly.

I remember your…

many blends of teas and the scents of all those different wildflowers you foraged for and brought back to the tea
house to tie with purple twine into fat bushels that you asked me help you hang upside down to dry in the darkest corner of the cellar.

she explained her presence…

by leading him to the side of her van and showing him the different glass bottles and jars, a few dark but most clear, with the exception of one amber, pointing out the various forms within—liquid and crystallized, pasteurized and raw, chunk, strained, creamed, dried, ultrasonicated, filtered, and, of course, comb.

inevitably, during those early hours…

and before the rest of the kitchen staff arrived, the tea house woman found herself downstairs with Nell, letting the older woman console her over a pot of coffee and a plate of hot cinnamon rolls. Well, Nell would say, decorating petits fours, Have you experimented with this? Or, while cutting biscuits out of trifold dough, Maybe you could wear that? Eventually, even she threw her hands into the air where they left little puffs of flour, like clouds, and said, Men, what can you do?

the tea house woman SET three…

latte mugs on the tray, hooked mini gingerbread houses with Royal-iced roofs over the mugs’ gold rims, and gently arranged half a dozen chocolate-dipped cream-filled tuiles into a Sundae glass. On the stove, in a saucepan, extra dark chocolate chunks, sugar, a pinch of salt, five quick taps vanilla extract, almond milk. The triplets were lactose intolerant. Of all the things to know about the people who live their lives daily all around you, who populate your town, the tea house woman knows folks’ milk preferences.