My short story “To Express How Much” has been recorded for Prose Online

“Her face made him feel like he’d found religion, like there was something to believe in after all. He watches the confident way she walks, like someone who doesn’t have to guess at things. … He makes her smile finally, and he doesn’t fight its effect on him, like a lighthouse, something to head toward.”

No one who’s grown up in an alcoholic family, especially a violent one, has to be told what it feels like to know there’s something fundamentally different about you, something wrong. The things other people take for granted—keeping promises, making plans—can’t be assured when you don’t know what state of chaos the family may be in when it comes time to keep that promise. Faking becomes second nature, modeling oneself after people who seem to be normal, people who don’t have to cover up perplexing bruises or unexplained absences. But children of alcoholics come in various guises. Their poses can often be impenetrable. They are adept at fooling the world. But in doing so, they become isolated. They’re never truly known. In “To Express How Much,” two young people who’ve been going through the motions for as long as they can remember risk “coming out” to each other, revealing a bond that few others can share.