Broke Your Heart Just About Every Way How

Her baby son, Jett, three-years-old and fighting a nasty cold, slept next to Brenda in her bed. She sat rigid with her back to the headboard and her knees pulled tight to her chest beneath the ragged blanket, listening to his every sniffle and wet breath. She reached over to his thick brown curls and hovered her hand over the place where they swirled just above his left temple, the place where the other boy’s head had been sticky and matted with blood. That boy had blonde hair, finer than Jett’s, with a cowlick at the crown. She couldn’t bring herself to touch the spot. She was due back at the Pump Stop at seven. Dale had offered her the day shift for the next few weeks. It was kind of him, but she hadn’t slept more than a few hours that night or the one before, startling awake several times to strangle her churning dreams.

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Clarissa Nemeth is originally from Gatlinburg, Tennessee. She has a Bachelor of Music degree from Boston University, an MFA from North Carolina State University, and is currently a doctoral candidate in creative writing at the University of Kansas. She is working on a novel about the tourist towns of Sevier County, Tennessee. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her husband Greg and their pit bull, Boogie. Her work has also been featured in The Writing Disorder.

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