Diana loved anything orange
—cats, lipstick, hunting vests, nail polish, hard hats, life jackets, water guns. When she slipped through her mother’s legs, almost butting the doctor’s stomach, her skin turned a yellowish red. I did crave pumpkin, her mother said. Before my water broke, I ate a whole pie, crust and all. It took eleven days of being rubbed in olive oil and resin, her mother’s fingers lightly massaging Diana’s new skin that capitulated to air in March before trout season, before her father deserted them for Pennsylvania streams. Her eighth Halloween she painted her nose and toes tangerine and swathed herself in a sheet, RIT-dyed sunshine orange, that her mother soaked in white vinegar until the bleeding stopped. Even then in third grade, she knew what they didn’t. How we climb into our wombs at night, sheets over our heads and wait for the water to float us back.
Runner-up in The Collagist's 2009 Flash Fiction Contest