Her mother used to sit her down in front of the tv when she was little, with a stack of VHS tapes from Blockbuster and her baby brother in the bouncy chair next to the sofa. She alternated between The Aristocats and Aladdin for months, until she discovered Kiki’s Delivery Service, and then she only watched the little witch, rewinding again and again until the tape broke. With the push broom between her knees, she jumped off the couch arm, sure she could fly. She broke her ankle instead.
At some point, she grew too old to suggest Kiki at sleepovers. She was eleven when Meredith Marshall made fun of her for pulling the DVD copy out of her beat-up backpack. The rest of the girls wanted to watch John Tucker Must Die, which Meredith had stowed away in her pink Vera Bradley bag. Effortlessly cool. She sat at the back, tucked her knees up under her chin, and thought about calling her mom to come pick her up. There were lots of group sleepovers after that one, but she never got invited again.
In high school she met Kayla, who loved films and also weed, which her older brother brought home with him from college in Colorado. Kayla liked to put on Memento and get high and try to sound smart when she talked about things like the cinematography and mise-en-place. She was pretty sure it was mise-en-scène, actually, and that mise-en-place was for cooking. She watched a lot of Food Network with her brother when their mother worked late. But she wasn’t going to correct Kayla, who supplied the snacks and the drugs and the lack of parental supervision on Friday nights.
By the time she turned twenty-three, she’d graduated from weed and moved on to the more creative substances. She picked up mushrooms and ecstasy and acid from a tall boy with long hair who went by Roo and brought it all back to her apartment stuffed with friends, so they could candy flip and dance and sweat all together. When they got tired of dancing, someone suggested putting on a movie, and someone else suggested putting on a movie with good colors, and finally someone suggested Kiki. She tried to be cool about it, but she was too high, so high that maybe she could fly this time, really, but the push broom from the corner closet was still just a broom, and this time she broke the other ankle. Alone in a bright white hospital room, she came down in a bed with its four feet firmly planted on the ground.
Rachel M. Beavers is a Los Angeles-based writer and insomniac. Her previous work can be found in HAD. Find her on twitter whenever there’s an earthquake @leaveitobeavers