fishHerring Girl

by Nadia de Vries

Dad always liked to take me out fishing. I never liked fishing, but I was good at it and Mom says you must only do what you are good at. Dad called me the Egret Girl. We used to fish a lot those days, but I regret that now. I have seen enough trout choke at my feet to know I am not cut out to be an egret. Dad offered to call me Erne Girl instead but that did not have as nice a ring to it. I am also allergic to seafood. When I eat shrimp I turn pink, like a flamingo does.

I am never invited to garden parties. I guess I am not really like a flamingo at all.

My sister used to call me a magpie with bad taste because I often stole her earrings when I still lived at home. I do not live there anymore, but I go visit occasionally. I can be a swallow at times. I call my sister Canary Girl because she sings real prettily. She also lives in a cage. Mom has multiple sclerosis and she needs the Canary Girl to sing her to sleep. I bring flowers when I visit to help tend the nest. When I take leftovers from the fridge I feel like a parasite.

I do not want to brood anything because I do not want kids with multiple sclerosis. I could not be a cuckoo even if I tried.

My grandmother used to call me Cardinal Girl because of my red hair. She does not call me that anymore because we planted her in our yard five years ago. We hung her body with jewels so she would stay in the ground. She was buried the way she enjoyed life, with arms outstretched. When it rains and the earth goes soggy, her hands climb from the dirt and I pry a ring from her fingers.

I am tired of waiting for the rain to come. I do not want to be a vulture anymore.

If you ask me, I do not want to be a Bird Girl at all. I do not even like birds. I have never owned a beak but I have been held in one. Check out this cut in my side. You can call me the Herring Girl.


Nadia de Vries is an Amsterdam-based fiction writer who dreams about dead scientists a lot. She has yet to find out what this means.
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