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Sophy’s mom sent her a giant case of “Fun dip” - a thousand packets of sour, fruit-flavored sugar. Is there anything more junkavore a parent can buy a child - well, ok, an 18 year old?

She LOVES them and so does Leong who’s from China where, apparently, you can’t get useless, non-nutritional snacks. The two of them are running around, all sugar hyped with their emo-grape-chemical-lips, sticking out phosphorescent-green-tongues and threatening to tickle everyone with cherry-red-fingers. It has me wondering, should I switch to dentistry?

Our college prep has moved to a new phase - with just 16 days until classes begin. We’re suddenly sleeping-in. It’s nothing we planned or even discussed, it just started happening. We go to sleep around 10pm and sleep until 10am - or later. I think we all subconsciously realized that soon we’ll be back to sleeplessness.

I’m peachy - in a great mindspace - these days. I’m well rested (see above), we’re killing our sophomore prep - even the physics, my period was a nothing, we spent over two hours in Ulta sampling perfumes, I have a new Macbook M2 (see below) and I painted my nails in tropical colors.

The FedEx man rolled up yesterday. “Anyone expecting something?” Anna asked the crowd of roommates attracted by the driver bringing packages to the door, two at a time. No one was expecting anything. Eventually he’d delivered 8, back to school, M2-Macbooks (2 in each color) for everyone - from my Grandmère.

If that sounds needlessly ostentatious, then you’re thinking she went to the mall and paid full price, but she probably just traded Tim Cook a half ton of lithium or something - one of her companies mines it - in Chili - I think. But still, my roommates were blagabloo.

I picked a starlight one. An odd thing about the new, flat Macbook Air design is that you can’t pick it up with one hand - unless you hook it underneath with a long fingernail - what are guys going to do?
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Ostentatious: something overly elaborate that attracts envy.

junkavore = someone who eats completely unhealthily
peachy = happy and healthy
blagabloo = ecstatic
Anais Vionet Jul 25
We’re 6 roommates, on summer vacation before our sophomore year and we take turns planning our nights. Last night was Sunny’s choice so we found ourselves at “Sister Louisa's Church,” one of the fun gay bars in this little college town. We’ve been to 5 LGBTQ bars in the Atlanta area this summer and they’ve all been skittles.

This being a Lesbian bar, we all felt empowered to dress down, dance a few times, and just have some harmless fun. “Hmm.., Sunny said, wrinkling her nose, “I think queer or girly are better terms than lesbian. Lesbian seems to have a mascular take - like we want to be boys - and that’s not it at all.”
“I bow to your superior, informed, cultural finickiness,” Lisa noted.

WE dance a few times but Sunny never stops. One moment Sunny’s there, for a swig of her drink and the next, she’s twiring off with some attractive (30ish?) woman - it keeps happening. “We need to put an apple tracker on her.” Bili said, but when the songs ended she always came back to us.
“That womyn had more than two hands.” Sunny said, gulping on her drink and fixing her hair.

It was time to go, past time actually. We’re on a schedule these days. We spend our mornings playing disc golf or water-skiing and our afternoons studying. We’re trying to re-engage with college work in a gradual, 3 hour a day, low anxiety way.

Sunny (A molecular, cellular, and developmental biology major), Lisa and I (Molecular biophysics and biochemistry majors) are all on the pre-med track. Next year we’ll tackle physics together and we’re already grinding away on examples of the problem-sets we’ll see next semester. So far the shared stress has helped the next-level classes seem easier and more engaging.

I was the watchdog last night, sentenced to preventive sobriety, and tasked with corralling everyone when the time came to leave. “Fair warning!,” I said loudly, between songs, “reality is going to *****-stab you ladies in the back tomorrow morning.”
“I think you mean *****-SLAP,” Leong said, ever the aphorism police.
“Whatever it is, it’s going to hurt.” I amended. I’d been working (whining), stubbornly for half-an-hour to convince them to leave and finally, I said, “I’m texting Charles.”

OH, THEN the girls started gathering their things. “Ok, Yeah.., I see how it is.” I added, holding my phone like a grenade with the pin out.

The following morning Anna’s situationship broke up - by text - as if to add to the pain of her hangover. In situationships, it’s inevitable that one stakeholder will hope for more - but you have to paint it as casual, as no big deal. She’s pretending she doesn't care but anyone can see she’s been crying.

On the other side of the emotional universe - I’m riding-a-high - because Peter, on a facetime call, said he missed me - but it’s not just that - he seems more energetic, interested and actually romantic. I like us together. We’re choral (there’s no definable lead). I’m practically snoopy-dancing around the house.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: ??Finicky: very particular in taste or standards.”

situationship = a casual, friend with benefits, quasi-romantic coupling
skittles = rainbows of fun
womyn = empowered woman
mascular = masculine + muscular

Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry = The study of living organisms.
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology = The study of genetics, cell biology, developmental biology, cancer biology, and neurobiology.
Anais Vionet Jul 13
Can a pure soul, haunted by desires, plot gross revolt for straight satisfaction?
Can giving in to the disobedient beasts of want, be an act of “reclaiming power?”

A thunderstorm rolled across early sunrise like a choppy, inverted surf, drowning my usual distractions. In still moments, my heart hurts - as if it were bruised. Peter has a hold on me, he pulls on my life. I need to talk to Charles.

Lisa comes into the sunroom where most of us are lounging. “Looks like the weather’s clearing.” she said, and all eyes turned to the sky. “And there’s a kid, cleaning leaves out of the pool, his arms look like socks full of coconuts.”
“What?” Anna said.
“Where?” Lisa asks, six girls step up close to the windows like mannequins in a shop display.
“Oh, my.” Sophy says, drawing it out like an accusation, “the pooool boy!”
“He’s fifteen,” I say, making an ID through the excited crowd, instantly dousing the fire.

“This place is like a hotel, it’s larger than life.” Anna said. “The other night, when we shared those shooters, the hall leading to my room seemed like an airport concourse.”
“I’d LOVE to have lived here.” Sunny said, dramatically as she slowly reached for a strawberry off her fruit plate. Then turning to me she inquires, “How’d you pull it off?”
“It’s one of the things we don’t talk about,” I answered, conspiratorially, “I’m sure *** was involved,” I add, wiggling my eyebrows.
“Mmm,” she practically hummed, biting into the juicy strawberry goodness, “it always is.”
“Do you miss it?” Anna asks.
“I’m trying to move on with my life.” I admit.

I spot Charles out by the pool, crouching down. He’s testing the water quality and I decide that now's the time. I’m going to tell him I’ve decided to override him and invite Peter here for August - peridot.

I made my way out and around to where he’s working, getting more nervous with every step.
“Do you think we’ve been peeing in the pool?” I said, hoping to bring on a jokey mood, but it doesn’t really hit.

“No,” he says, forever the serious one, “You know that chlorine smell pools get?” I nod, sorry I made the stupid joke. “Well, that smell isn’t chlorine - can you smell the pool?” I inhale and nod yes. “That chemical smell would be the chlorine reacting to *** - and there isn’t any.”

I sit on the edge of a lounge chair, near where he’s working - to lay it all out and tell him what I’ve decided - but as I watch him my confidence fades and my lips won’t move. How can I argue with my parents, have knock-down screaming matches and not be able to say word-one with Charles? I’m so frustrated my eyes fill with tears.

He knows me too well though, we’ve been together forever - since a girl at my school was murdered when I was nine. We’ve shared sagas. He knows and has faithfully kept all of my secrets.

I’d bet he’s been watching my wheels turn for days. “You always think you see a path forward that others don’t,” he says softly, “but you have a lot of runway left, Kid-O.”

I leave the pool and storm inside - not really angry, more embarrassed to be so vulnerable.
I get on the treadmill, and I run.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: saga: a long and complicated story or series of events.
Anais Vionet Jul 7
Most of the girls (Anna, Sophy, Sunny, Bili, Leong and Lisa) are in the kitchen eating breakfast. “Where’s Anais?” Sunny asks, spooning some eggs onto her plate and taking 4 strips of bacon.

“She’s out by the pool, feeling sorry for herself.” Leong whispers, distractedly, reading the “Fruity Pebbles” box and poking the multicolored flakes with her spoon. “These are good.”

“She was cantankerous.” Sophy adds.
“Aungery.” Anna adds.
“Stevening.” Lisa contributes, competitively.

The front door causes the alarm system to chirp as it opens and Kim calls out, “Morning!” from the foyer.

“What’s going on?” Sunny asks, frustratedly and looking around in concern.

“Charles told her she couldn’t invite Peter this summer.” Lisa said, half whispering. Bili and Anna look up from their plates, like interested bystanders, to check Sunny’s reaction.

Sunny looks shocked, “Really - he can do that? Why?” she asks, almost confused. “He’s usually such an invisible figure.” she notes, quizzically.

Kim comes into the kitchen and hangs her purse on a white coat rack - out of habit - like she’s done for years. “Charles tells her what to do,” she says, giving Bili a hug. “and the girl obeys.”

“Yep,” Bili confirms, bobbing her head offhandedly, like it’s a done deal.

Sunny nods thoughtfully and putting a napkin under her plate, heads out the double-French doors toward the pool to find me. I’m sitting by the pool, watching the water, one leg crossed over the other, which is in the water, slowly kicking, making deliberate waves that ripple across the light blue surface.

“Hey,” Sunny said as she approached, “mind company?”
“Nah,” I reply, “I’m over it.”
“I heard,” Sunny reported, taking a seat next to me, “sorry.”
“Just a disappointment - and a little social embarrassment.” I said, chuckling self-consciously.
“Did he say why?’ Sunny ventured.
“He just said, “It’s a bad idea,” I repeated, shrugging.
After a moment of silence I added, “He’s probably right - I’m glad I hadn’t asked Peter yet - THAT would have been lethiferous,” I cringe physically at the thought.

“Besides,” I disclose, “that might have been weird, me with someone and no one else??”
Sunny gives a “maybe” nod.

“Like when one of us brings someone into our dorm room for the night,” I continue, “and you have to walk through the common room - where everyone’s studying - and they know what you’re doing, and you know, they know, what you’re going to do. It’s SUPER awkward.” We both chuckle in agreement.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Cantankerous: angry and annoyed.

aungery = annoyed and angry
stevening = a tantrum directed at the world conspiracy
lethiferous = lethal, fatal, deadly
Anais Vionet Jul 3
“We’re cleared for takeoff,” the pilot announced, “settle in, our flight time to Atlanta will be 9 hours.”

The Gulfstream roared down the runway and in a moment the tops of trees flashed by. We climbed quickly, and banked. Paris dwindled, the Seine became a string of blue, the world a patchwork of colors before we punched through a layer of hair-like cirrus clouds.

My roommates and friends were all a-chatter as we lined up on the runway but as we ascended, they grew quiet.

Thoughts of Peter ran through me and gripped me like a serpent. The last time I saw him he was dressed in a summer outfit I bought him - a short-sleeve, pale-pastel-plaid seersucker shirt, kentucky-derby breaker shorts, pop color flip flops and a straw fedora. His sweet-face was all grin, he looked like a deck gillespie. Meow.

When I think about Peter, my skin tickles, my pulse accelerates, I’m confuddled. I think about the disturbance that moved through the air between us when we met. We were strangers, but a magnetic flux seemed to roll off him and break against me.

I didn’t let it show. I drew in, looked away and became quiet. What else could I do? Later, when I described it to Sunny, our meeting seemed like nothing. When I described it to Lisa, it sounded like too much.

Of course, my choices must be consistent with my ambitions, but I want Peter to come to Athens, so badly. He was a human placebo, for me, in otherwise stressful times. Now I want to be with him without school pressures - to see what that’s like - and get closer, a lot closer.

I don’t want commitment, but I’m saturated with desire. All I want is a fun July or August - with him. I seldom reveal the businesslike hardness I have buried inside. I want this and I’m ready for derp.

Peter worries - about money, about gender roles, social positions and what’s apposite. I don’t care about any of that. I want to give him a free month, like an amazing gift. He’s so male, so deceptively complicated, fragile and intoxicating.

I really need to think about this, and work it out - HA! - like I can think of anything else.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Apposite: “what's appropriate”

deck = cool
gillespie = hipster
meow = I want
confuddled = confused and befuddled
derp = anything and everything
Anais Vionet Jun 30
We had breakfast on the Champs-Élysées this morning at Café Joyeux. Their croquet monsieur (a breakfast sandwich) was to die for - one bite can cure a hangover. They also serve a deep, rich Yirgacheffee coffee (€15 a cup) that I think God stirs with his little pinkie finger - it’s THAT good. We took up most of the little outdoor, oval tables on the right side (there are 10 of us) and our little sorority was noisy with chatter - earning us looks.

Our European vacation culminates today. We’re flying back to Georgia in a couple of hours. June seemed to drain away like water.  

The minion my Grandmère charged with coordinating our vacation, François, breakfasted with us. He’s one of the flock of Sorbonne Université MBAs she recruits each year to infuse new energy into her conglomerates.

He briefed us on our departure and flight. His imposition of definitive order and advance planning allowed us a casual and carefree sense of travel this summer. In an ideal world, he’d coordinate my entire life.

He’s been on-call all month but joined us, off and on - like when we arrived in Doublin, at customs, to smoothly guide us through and again, similarly, in Paris.

He’s 26, very handsome and model looking. He’s perfectly tailored, with an elegant yet minimalist style. He wears dark shirts of admiral and yale blue with long black jackets and gray slacks with no tie. His hair is a hipster straight, blonde fringe.

He’s so perfect that I wouldn’t put it past my Grandmère to have placed him in front of me, like bait, to see if something with us sparked-off.

He’s Frenchly brisk and yet dryly solicitous - as if I have the power to sanction his position, which, in a way I suppose I do.

“How’s François doing?” Grandmère would ask, each time we talked.

“He’s wonderful,” I said, “I think he’s a keeper.”

“Good, good for him.” she would reply - making the comment sound almost sly.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Culminate: "to reach the end or final result.”
Anais Vionet Jun 29
It’s midnight on June 24th. We’re returning from a “Hot Wax” concert - they were wretched. We’re heading back to Paris tomorrow, so we decided to just stop at the (Kube Hotel) lounge for nightcaps.

Everyone was stirred-up and tight as a violin string when we heard that the “Extreme Court” threw out “Roe vs Wade’s” constitutional guarantees - the latest signal of Americas ascendant entropy.

Following that, was a ruling that threw out New York’s gun restrictions. “Republicans wear compassion like a costume,” Anna pronounces, “what “right to life” IS there, if every nutcase can walk around with a machine-gun. Haven’t they been watching the news?”

Leong, who’s always willing to discuss the superiority of the communist system, susurrates, to no one in particular, “Abortions are legal in China and unless you have a hunting license - guns are illegal.”

“Maybe we should move there,” Lisa says, ingenuously, holding up her drink toastingly, her face tinted a gleaming, bourbon gold in reflected light.

Returning to our suite, 3 hours later, Sophy’s adopted a mode of travel involving swerves and leaning heavily on things. Which Leong, who was not doing much better, finds hilarious. “Use your signals!” Leong says after barely dodging one of Sophy’s flailing arms.

“Two loves I have - of comfort and despair.” Sunny quotes, in her richest, Shakespearian voice.

“There’ll be no uncomfortable beds tonight,” I say, searching my bag for my phone, which has the suite key in an attached card-holder. Charles’ room is directly across from ours and I see him shaking his head as both of our doors close.

We’ve adopted a motto, “live to exhaustion,” and I think, to myself, that we’re living up to it, as I flop onto my bed and the world goes dark.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Ingenuous: showing innocent or childlike simplicity and candidness.

wretched = very good
Anais Vionet Jun 24
Its sundown, the day’s been reduced to a crack of lavender and fiery pinks along the Massif des Maures mountains. This evening we’re sipping cocktails at “Les Toits,” the Hôtel de Paris’ rooftop restaurant. The French would call this a lounge.

Les toits translates as ‘the roofs’ and its stunning view overlooks the provincial rooftops that ***** down the foothills to the gulf of Saint-Tropez and it’s world-famous beaches. The well lit boats are settling down and dropping anchor for the night as we complete our orders and get our second round of drinks.

This has been the best vacation. I think we’ve all reclaimed our calm after a tense freshman year. We’ve been at the beach for 10 days. Leong and Sunny are actually tan, Lisa and my hair are half a tone lighter and Bili’s black skin has taken on gorgeous, purple-ish highlights.

I’ve known Lisa now for ten months, but we share a deep connection that seems older. Lisa’s lovely, brazen, and naturally flashy, without trying. Unfortunately, though, Lisa draws men like a keig-light draws moths - whether she’s looking for them or not - I don’t envy her that. Young men, middle aged men, old men.

Lisa said it started when she was 13. She’d be in a store or restaurant with her mom or dad and a lady would introduce herself, “Hi, I’m with the Ford, or Elite, or IMG, or DNA modeling agency, has your daughter done any modeling?” And another business card would be wasted. Her mom nodded as she recalled this sordid past.

Attention just shifts to her, the party comes to her, she can’t seem to avoid it. About every 30 minutes some man comes over and introduces himself to us (to her). This man owns a local night club, would we (she) be his guest? (He’s looking at her like desert) This guy owns a yacht - “that one, there,” he points it out, in his Russian oligarch voice - he clicks a fob on his keychain and the lights blink. Oh, sure, join a strange foreign man on his yacht, what could go wrong?

There are 8 of us girls at the table with Charles, our escort and confidant. He’s a 50-ish, red headed ex-NYC-cop who just sits there quietly and sips his drink like James Bond. He seldom says anything. I lean in to him and say, “Maybe they think you're her ****?!” Leong coughs in her drink and Charles gives me the same, serious, “behave yourself” look I’ve gotten since I was 9.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: confidant: someone to whom secrets are entrusted.
Anais Vionet May 27
It’s 8am on an overcast Wednesday morning, Leong and I are about halfway through a round of frisbee golf. Half of the holes on this course wind through dense, hilly woods, but as we climbed a hill toward the 9th hole we left the woods, with its green forest canopy, for the open fairway.

That’s when the first, fat, high-velocity raindrops hit us. They made a tiny popping sound and left small, dark, bullet-hole water-stains on our quick-drying activewear. I wasn’t thinking about the weather, at that point, we’d been under a forest roof, protected from the wind and elements.

I’m so competitive, up until this point my eyes, my entire mind had been focused on the course, the game, the next shot, the angles and the par.

As the oldest sibling in her family, Leong can be a little bossy - but in a nice way. She “older sisters” me sometimes (she’s ten months older). When we’re at school, I abandon myself to her happily because she studies a LOT - something we have in common - and I know she’s always got one eye on the clock.

Leong has an uncanny knack of knowing precisely what to do, where to go, and when. I’m used to going second with her, following, sure that she has everything ordered, in her head, in such a way that the world around us never disintegrates into disorder.

As we topped the hill, overlooking a broad landscape of golf-course-sculptured green, dotted with trees arranged as obstacles, I realized that Leong kept turning around - was something happening?

I started looking around too and focusing more carefully. The trees along the fairways were flailing in the wind, making a collective rustling and shushing sound, as if to get our attention. The forest canopy we just left was an ocean of violently rolling green.

The sky immediately behind us was lower, weighted down with purple-edged black clouds that covered the sky like restless, moving bruises. In front of us, the sky was open, the sunlight still dazzling, but that brightness was quickly receding, as if fleeing the suffocating storm that was pressing in.

Thunder erupted as if freed by our attention and there were sparks of lightning in that menacing, fairy-tale darkness. I looked at Leong, her expression was new to me. Her eyes were narrowed, her knees slightly bent, like a surfer seeking balance and she was licking her lips as she twisted nervously around.

Suddenly, wordlessly, she took my hand and gave me an irresistible tug. I found myself running, unwillingly at first, towards the parking lot - about a quarter mile away. She was squeezing my hand hard. Is it possible that she’s afraid, I wondered?

The clouds were just behind us now, and a thick wall of rain, that looked like a cartoon curtain, obscured the fairway in back of us. The wave of water seemed to be following us, pursuing us - gaining on us. A fierce flash of light and a bomb-like boom seemed to shake the ground under out feet. “Oh, ****!” I half-screamed, half-laughed, panting.

I pressed my door fob as we approached the car and we clamored in just as the lashing rain overtook us. We looked at each other, out of breath, and laughed in relief.
“Who says frisbee golf isn’t exciting?” I asked.
BLT word of the day challenge. Uncanny: "of unusual or almost supernatural character"
Anais Vionet Apr 30
It’s hard to imagine almost three months of unencumbered fun. My Grandmère says it’s my first summer as an “adult.” Is it funny that I don’t yet see myself as an adult?

Her “frosh-end” gift to me is a summer of anything I want (chaperoned, of course, to counterbalance the nefarious strategic significance of our femaleness) with her secretarial minions coordinating tickets, booking travel, airfare and hotels. ***, we have SO much planned.

There’ll be travel, plisse bikini-covers, gas-station sunglasses, marathon-beach-walks, bright-dense-tangerine sunsets, Yamazaki flavored snow-cones, moonlight swangin, ***-positivity and righteous gratitude to my Grandmère for all this.

And there won’t be any deterministic nonlinear systems analysis or multicellular biology quizzes.

Leong isn’t going back to Macau (China) over summer break so I’m stealing her. She’s spending her entire summer with me. In June, my parents are off, for the rest of the summer, to Poland with “Doctors without borders,” so we become untethered. Of course, all of our plans are covid or WWIII dependent and thus subject to cancellation without prior notice.

In May, I’m going to show Leong life in America, well, Georgia anyway. I’ll introduce her to my old high school crew, show her life on the lake, and teach her how to play frisbee golf and of course, how to waterski. We’re going to Braves games, to see Bonnie Raitt, Barenaked Ladies, and Indigo Girls concerts - and that’s just May.

In June, when my folks leave for Poland, Lisa, Anna, and Sunny will join us for the rest of the summer. First, we’re off to Dublin, Ireland for a few days where we’ll see Duran Duran in concert. Then we’ll go to London and shop for day three of the Royal Ascot.

Day three, at Ascot, is “Ladies Day,” when they parade those hats “My Fair Lady” made famous. We’ll table in the Windsor Enclosure (the “cheap seats”) where you don’t have to wear a silly hat (Americans don’t DO that, do we?) and the dress code is slightly more relaxed. Don’t fret though, the royal family will carriage right by us (an unobstructed 30 feet away) at 2PM sharp and we’ll enjoy champagne, strawberries and 5-star cuisine as horses run for their lives.

In January, all we could talk about were Florida beaches - but that’s not the situation now - the Florida atmosphere just seems too straight-white toxic. So we’re staying euro-side and will drop to Saint-Tropez until we go see Olivia Rodrigo, in Paris, on June 22nd.

As you can see, it’s a lot - and I can’t wait!
I hope you have big plans - make big plans - life's too short!
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge:
Minion: someone obeying the orders of a powerful boss
Nefarious: "evil" or "flagrantly wicked"

Frosh = freshman
Swangin = dancing
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