American Charity by Jenny Forrester
Editor Carrie Seitzinger, Fiction, October 18th, 2014
...not because it’s unique that I gave up a kidney...
The kidney-donation story was written up in the paper, not because it’s unique that I gave up a kidney for a stranger, but that I also gave up a piece of my liver, some bone marrow, lots of blood, some skin, a bucket load of ovaries and had a baby for someone and so that kidney seemed significant. And I’m a lesbian so it added to the human-interest storyline.
My girlfriend was lying on the floor, curled up. That’s what she does. She goes fetal. That’s her defense against me. It works because I really do have a soft heart. I had hit her, not very hard, but there she was – on the floor.
She started crying and I said, “What can I do to make you stop crying?”
She didn’t speak. So I said, “How ‘bout if I give up a kidney? Will that make you stop crying?”
She looked at me, sat straight up and with a voice of gravel and tears, said, “Yes.”
We went into the bedroom and made love and then I got online and found a way to donate a kidney.
That was our pattern.
I really should get control of my temper.
I don’t have many organs left to give and I’m too old to have any more babies.
I think my girlfriend is trying to kill me.
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Header photo courtesy of photographer Feliz Paloma Gonzalez. To view his photo essay “Forest Skin” on NAILED, go here.
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Jenny Forrester has been published in Penduline Press, Unshod Quills, smalldoggies (chapbooks series), NAILED, Hip Mama Magazine, Seattle’s City Arts Magazine, and in Indiana Review. She’ll be published by Putnam in 2015 in the Listen to Your Mother Anthology. She curates the Unchaste Readers Series. The story, “American Charity,” received a Runner Up mention in Indiana Review’s 2011 1/2K prize, judged by Ander Monson.