Completely Happy

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May Beetles are things that harass your window at night. They come to your room and beat-beat-BEAT at the glass. They wake you up and make you think someone is there to kill you.

No one ever is, and it’s a little sad when we’re disappointed about that.

Sophia Melora Kaplan MacToning IV was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. John Waters lived there too. He’s a filmmaker with a thin mustache and nice suit. His movies are trash and he admits to it, but he’s a really nice guy.

Sophia never knew John Waters, but one can dream.

All the boys liked Sophia. She was short and pretty and had bright brown eyes and the sense of humor that boys liked.

She felt that most people were sexist. The boys didn’t feel the same way.

John Waters has nothing to do with this story.

Middle school was hard. Kids are mean.

High school was meaner.

Sophia read mostly, keeping to herself, and she slept soundly.

Sophia’s parents were good people. Her dad taught her about music and film. Her mom showed her books and how to read them. They hugged her every day. When she went to higher learning Papa MacToning cried and cried and cried.

The cows came home.

She never wanted for love.

Once upon a time Sophia had a nickname. It was given to her by a boy who liked her mind just as much as he liked her eyes.

They met by coincidence. A favorite book shop. A favorite author. A favorite moment in time.

He called her Fig. Sophia liked figs. She ate them every morning.

Fig enjoyed her new name, and she was something very close to happy. She never let herself get all the way there though, because if you’re completely happy then everything else will be a let down.

When Fig smoked cigarettes next to the dumpster in the back alley the boy would tell her to stop because her lungs would dry up and fall out through her mouth.

She thought this was funny. So did the boy.

Fig stopped smoking.

Kissing is much more complicated than how they show it in the movies.

Word travels fast when two people kiss. He said, she said. All good things. All bad things.

Fig was thrilled to be kissed by the boy. It made her whole. It made him full.

Who kissed who?

That’s a fun game to play between lovers.

Who broke up with who?

That one is less fun.

Fig and the boy never played the second game.

Jack Kerouac had the advantage of having no disadvantages.

That was his true talent. Not writing. Not playing the piano.

He had the right time to do what he did.

I’m telling you. The right year, the right weather, the right friends.

Nothing was against him.

One, two, three, four.

Years pass by quickly if you’re having too much fun.

Papers were sent out and signed. Jobs were offered.

When she got the news—the grand old news—Fig told the boy and smiled when she finished.

Dreams were coming true.

The boy started to cry. Fig stopped smiling.

He told her not to go.

Things would be different if she did.

They would never see each other again.

We would be apart, he said, we wouldn’t stay together, you’d find someone else someone with better looks better eyes better hair you’d move in with a guy and tell me he’s just a friend but you’d sleep together you’d fuck him at night he’ll be better than me always better because what am I just a husk a corn husk a fucking husk he’s so much better better looking better muscles better sense of humor better better better….

Finger to the lips and a


Come here. Don’t cry. Come here.

A hand on the back of their neck is just as good as a kiss to the one who loves you.

John Waters hasn’t made a new movie in two years.

But he isn’t a part of this story. He doesn’t eat figs. Why do we bother with him?

Why do we bother at all?


Stop it. You know I have to.



Don’t go.


A month passed.

Sophia wasn’t Fig anymore.

Who in their right mind would hire a girl named Fig?

The boy tried his best, and so did Sophia. They wrote letters filled with tiny drawings and page long confessions of love and marriage. The boy complained about school. Jobs. Parents. Homework. Sophia complained about the real world.

The boy visited. They made love in a small New York apartment.

Fig lived above a theater. Stanley Kowalski was screaming his head off.

When the boy went back home everything was fine.

A year later everything had gone where it shouldn’t have.


Milk goes sour in two or three days if you leave it on the counter.

Friends can become so much more within the blink of an eye.

A phone call can carry weight. More weight than most people realize.

Just as much as a misplaced kiss.


Who kissed who?

Who broke up with who?

Who loved who?

Who felt more?

It’s a funny thing to feel true heartbreak.

It’s a funnier thing to watch it hurt someone you loved.

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