Brittany Hailer

Lightning can travel through water. It is dangerous to shower during a thunderstorm. As the sky hallowed, my hangover settled into my stomach. It hasn't rained in 40 days and I am so angry only hot water can get me to forgive you. Last night's whiskey still stiffens my temples and my jaw clacks.

When both your parents are drunks, their faces appear on other people for the rest of your life. When I was younger, I'd cry and run. When I am drunk, I cry and run. When I am hungover, I rage. I become the closest thing to them. When my body goes through withdrawal and craves more sugar, my face, too, becomes their face. My anger towards them blots the bed sheets and stains the kitchen floor. It trails an ooze behind me throughout the house.

And I want your face to turn back into your face. But I only see who has betrayed me. And I have not learned how to forgive what still scares you. My lungs expand and contract, my heart clangs, whether you're sorry or not.

Which is why I need the shower. I need the heat, the pulse. I need the clean to beat it out of me.

I read once that men are four times as likely to get hit by lightning because they go out in the storm.

Brittany Hailer is an award-winning journalist based in Pittsburgh. Her memoir and poetry collection Animal You'll Surely Become was published by Tolsun Books in 2018. Brittany has taught creative writing classes at the Allegheny County Jail and Sojourner House as part of Chatham's Words Without Walls program and now teaches creative writing and journalism at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the managing editor at Pittsburgh Current. Her work has appeared in NPR, Fairy Tale Review, Hobart, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.

Follow @BrittanyHailer on Twitter and Facebook.

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