Two Days Before My Period

I cry in my car while unwrapping a Crunchwrap Supreme
because through the window I saw a man eating lunch
alone, looking at his phone, napkins crumpled in front of him.
I am also eating lunch alone, and I like to eat
seventy-five percent of my meals alone, have for a year now,
unless you count eating a granola bar in front of my class
while I try to explain the difference in a claim and a statement,
while I try to explain why they should look up from their phones and look at me.
I say, If someone doesn’t respond soon I’ll think that I have died
and left my body in my office, and floated down here, and that I am now in some
community college classroom purgatory, and I’ll start screaming
just for someone to come running and affirm that I am alive.

Usually that gets a few of them to look up, smile at the thought
of my screaming.

I cry in my car because I don’t want
anyone to feel alone. With the time change, and my new house surrounded
by only roads and empty fields, I eat dinner alone in near-darkness
every day, my partner two hours away during the week. I mentioned the period
because six months ago I stopped taking birth control
for the first time since I was sixteen years old.
Now, I feel so many things every month, and wonder how I would have reacted
to an entire decade of my life if I had been allowed this freedom.

My students and I recently discussed the best item at Taco Bell.
Obviously, it is the Crunchwrap Supreme, the best parts of two tacos
eaten with one hand on the wheel going down the interstate, cruise control on,
listening to Christmas music the first week of November because
I am trying to feel something again, I am trying to feed
this stupid body again, I am eating lunch with Bing Crosby,
and he says that I have made a good decision with the Crunchwrap.

Emily Blair is a queer Appalachian writer and blue-collar scholar originally from Fort Chiswell, Virginia. She currently teaches college English in central North Carolina, where she lives with one determined cat and many nearly eaten (nontoxic) houseplants. Her most recent publications can be found in Hobart, Heavy Feather Review, Barren Magazine, and others. More information about her, and more of her work, can be found on her website,, and on Twitter @Em__Dash__.

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