lizz bogaard

A Dozen Eggs

LIZZ BOGAARD

ISSUE NO. 2 • Are we there yet?

I don’t even LIKE eggs!

Every morning, at about six o’clock, I ride my bicycle into town to get mother one dozen eggs. I do this because mother does not like bicycles, whereas I am neutral towards bicycles—so it is only fair that I am the one who rides.

I have done this for a very long time.

So, every morning, at about six o’clock, I hop on my bicycle and followed the route. The route is a bit longer than one might expect, because our house is situated quite high atop the mountain. The route goes like this: a right out of our dirt driveway onto Winter Hollow Road, a left onto Margaretville Mountain Road, then down the mountain until I reach Maple Lane, unto which I take a smooth left so that I may cross across the little creek’s bridge, after which I continue straight ahead into town to reach the eggs.

It takes an approximate fifteen minutes and thirty-four seconds to reach the eggs. Factoring in the homeward portion, the trip takes an approximate thirty-one minutes and eight seconds. Though that is only travel; once I reach the eggs, it takes about one minute and fifty-three seconds to get them. A worthy estimate for the whole ordeal is thirty-five minutes and three seconds.

This morning, it is about six o’clock and I am standing in my kitchen. I am drinking a cup of water. Mother is sitting in her velvet armchair. She is knitting. The red velvet armchair faces away from me, so I cannot see mother, but I know she is knitting because I can hear the clack-clink-clack of her silver needles. Mother does not enjoy being bothered while she is knitting. However, I am feeling waggish today. So, I decide to tell mother a joke. I tell her this: “Mother, I will not get the eggs today. You will have to get them!” Mother does not turn from the red velvet armchair, but I hear her stop knitting. I then hear her release from her nostrils one single contemptuous huff. She then lifts one single finger above the back of her head, shakes it slowly, side to side, and says this: “That-is-in-sane. You are insane!” To which I reply, “Mother! I am joking!” At which mother reels her finger back down and releases from her mouth a calm sigh. Mother gets back to her knitting, clink-clank.

Now, I will get the eggs.

I fasten my helmet straps, hop on my bicycle, and begin pedaling. I make the right out of the dirtway, take the left onto Margaretville Mountain, then my bicycle and I start cycling right down it, no pedaling necessary, as per usual. But right about when I’m halfway down the hill, just about sixteen seconds away from the left onto Maple Lane and the cross across the little creek’s bridge—I begin to hear the whirrs of my wheels. The whirrs sound different than usual. They sound like huffs, huffs strikingly resonant of that which was released from mother’s nostrils just mere minutes ago. The whirrs do not stop. The huffs do not stop. I think about what had made mother huff. I think about what mother had said to me. I did not mean what I said, and therefore she did not mean what she said. But I cannot stop hearing the huffs, so I cannot stop thinking about her words. What if I were insane? Surely, I am not.

But what if I were?

What would I do?

(This, of course, is wholly hypothetical.)

I think I would say, hypothetically, if I really truly were an insane human being, right this very second, right on this very bicycle, I would make myself ride straight through Maple Lane to stay on Margetville Mountain, would take the road all the way through to Rosemarie Anderson’s Alpaca Farm. There, I would hop off my bicycle and over the gate and into the herd, would lock eyes with what I would deem to be the most beautiful alpaca I would have ever seen, and I… would… sniff it. Then, I would pet it. And maybe, if I were extra insane, I would hop right onto it, would leave my bicycle lying out there for the vultures with a single wheel still spinning while I set off to travel for hours, months, years on end—New York to California, Canada, Montana, all the way back and more. And it would be a comfortable voyage for me, for my whole entire body, even its most sensitive parts—even my genitals! Cause my genitals would never not been cushioned by my alpaca’s fur-pillow. And I would even check them (my genitals), just for good measure, and they would be healthy as ever. Then, even if it (my alpaca) is not yet comfortable with me, I would check its genitals. And its genitals would be healthy as ever, too—of that I’m just simply sure. And whatever sex significations its genitals would show, I hope that—for the sake of communicative limitations—when speaking about my alpaca, I would have the sense to abstain from gendering them. And—for the sake of communicative clarity between my alpaca and I—I would name them some insane name… like… Vacuum. And I would—for communicative convenience—abbreviate Vacuum to “Vac.” On our voyage, Vac and I would come in contact with many different humans. At some inevitable point, a nosy human would come in unfavorably close proximity to us. This nosy human would hear me whispering one of my poems into Vac’s ear, which would exacerbate the nosy human’s nosiness, because all of my poems would start and end with the phrase, “your name is Vac,” which does not sound very poetic, and is not very poetic—because my poems, of course, would be insane. So, upon hearing me repeatedly address Vac as “Vac,” the nosy human would ask me this: “Don’t you mean to say ‘Vick?’” And I would stand right up to the nosy human, stare straight into their nosy eyes, and shout loud and proud into their nosy ears that Vac is “Vac,” not “Vick,” that it is not short for Vicky or Victoria or any of the nosy human’s tomfoolerous monickers, that it is actually a very common nickname for those whose birth names are “Vacuum.” And the nosy human would just stand there, mouth agape, stunned to silence—and I would tip a hat I do not have, pull a rein Vac does not wear, and we would trot right out and away into the world. My sweet, sweet Vacuum and I would live our lives insane as could be, going wherever we damn well pleased to go, doing whatever we damn well pleased to do—all while the few I knew, and the few I could’ve known, would’ve never wondered where I was.

(If I were insane.)

But, alas, I am not insane.

So I make the left, cross the creek. I must get the eggs.  

APPLESAUCE

Lizz Bogaard

ISSUE NO. 1 • To Have a heart

Now that I’m a senior, I’ve really been reflecting on my freshman year of college. And it’s been difficult—though not because of nostalgia, regret, or even existential anxiety; thinking about it just makes me cringe. A LOT.

I like to think of this piece as a reminder that, no matter how strange life might seem, looking back will always show us how much we’ve grown. Even if it’s just learning how to not make out like a fucking freak.


“How many guys have you made out with?”   

“Six.”        

“Ooooh. Who?”

“Josh, Joey, Andrew, Tom, Aaron, Stephen. Six.”

“Nice.”

“Okay Paige, now you.”

“Wellllll…” she smirked. “Seven.”

“WHAT?!”

“Yup.”

“I thought it was only—”

“Nope. Philip Smith.”

“What—”

“Yup. Tommy’s Bar Mitzvah. Last week.”

“Oh shit! I wasn’t even invited.”

“Yeah, he was a really bad kisser though…”


“Lizz, what about you?”

Oh no.


I can still remember it: sitting outside of Bella’s, pepperoni slice in hand, Paige and Izzy staring straight at me from the other side of the table, clutching their orange enVs, pink push up bra straps sticking boldly outside of their skin tight, neon yellow Sugarlip tank tops…

While my tank top hid shyly beneath my black basketball sweatshirt, worn only to flatten my stomach and prevent any nipple visibility. No bra.

Thinking back on seventh grade is never a happy process, mostly because it was a period of my life where my self-concept was built entirely upon my inadequacies: I couldn’t swim, couldn’t sing, couldn’t dance, couldn’t play any instruments, couldn’t talk in class without my face turning red, (still) couldn’t do long division, (somehow) couldn’t ride a bike, couldn’t get sidebangs or my ears pierced or a phone that wasn’t a walkie-talkie that my mom used to track my location—

And I’d never made out.

“Oh, that sucks.”

Yeah, I know.

Everyone was doing it. Everyone had done it.

But how did you do it? I had no suitors, though I was determined—and I had to be prepared.

After my friends learned about my inexperience, we fell under the unspoken agreement that—when it came to me—we just wouldn’t mention making out. It was shameful enough that I’d never done it; I wanted to know more, but I really couldn’t bring myself to remind them of my inferiority.

So, naturally, I went to Google. But it gave me nothing besides those confusing, cartooned wikiHows and the oh-so-helpful advice that “it’s natural; you just have to go with it!”

Just go with it?! Impossible.

I thought I’d never do it, and I started coming to terms with that.

Until—on one day of especially laborious web digging—I’d found my classmate Josh Kent’s meant-to-be-secret Yahoo Answers profile, for some reason listed under his full real name. There was one question on his profile: “what song was playing during ur first make out?”  

No one had answered the question, though—well, no one but Josh Kent himself: “we were sitting in my treehouse and ‘city’ by hollywood undead was playing she said i was a good kisser.”

I didn’t even know who Hollywood Undead were. They sounded cool. Fuck. I felt so removed, and I sat there staring at my computer screen, low as ever…

Until something came to mind.

Until I realized that this “she” just so happened to be a friend of mine.

Now I was getting somewhere.

I knew I had to go about this carefully, so I waited for the perfect time to strike: post-gym class locker room camaraderie. (If you were changing alone, you just felt more naked.)

“Izzy?”

“Yeah?”

“Was… was Josh Kent a good kisser?”

“Oh, yeah. Really good. Everyone who’s kissed him knows that.”

“Why?”

“Well, look…” She lowered her voice. “You can’t tell anyone this.”

“I won’t. I promise.”

“Pinky promise?”

We shook.

“Alright… he has a secret method.”

“Whoa…” A secret method?! Hidden even from Google?! I had to know. This would be it, the key to life, love, happiness, success—

“What is it.” I couldn’t help myself.

“Okay, since I trust you…” She nodded, came closer to me, close as could be—then she paused. Pursed her lips. Took a big breath in and let it out with a whisper, sending one single word straight into my ear: “APPLESAUCE.”

Applesauce.

She explained it.

And I made sure I understood.

    

So on that fateful day, in that sweat-laden locker room, I learned that applesauce is, was, and will always be the only way to make out. You have to say it. Mouth it. Move your lips to form the word, slowly, quickly, hard or soft—and then you’ll get it. Then you’ll be good. Natural wouldn’t be good, couldn’t be good, unless your lips were just instinctively carrying themselves in the applesauce-sound formation—and the chances of that were, of course, beyond slim. Josh’s older brother revealed it to him, made him promise he wouldn’t tell a soul. Apparently it was a secret passed down in the Kent family, generation to generation, origin unknown. Trial and error, maybe? Or, somehow, their ancestors just knew.

And now I knew, too.

           

Izzy told me stories of others who didn’t know about applesauce, others who Josh refused to confide in, others now banished to the realm of social suicide for their failures. Apparently Kevin Nolatta just held his tongue there, erect, “like a snake.” It was a (carefully orchestrated) dare, with his crush, on a trampoline, at a party. And they had to hold it for ten full seconds, so said the dare. But the girl started laughing at eight, couldn’t even handle the whole thing.

No one had seen Kevin at a party since.

And now I knew why.

You know what, though? I wasn’t even the kind of person who’d be targeted for a dare. Like, I wasn’t hot enough to be desirable, but I also wasn’t ugly enough to be picked for a punishment. So, in a sense, I was in the clear.

Still, there was always a chance. Knowing applesauce was a gift, but there was no guarantee that I’d execute it—especially if everyone was watching.

So at every party, when it came time for the dreaded Truth Or Dare, I’d lower myself down to the grainy floor of the damp trampoline, crisscross applesauce, place one hand down between my legs to cover all those exposed pubic hairs I was too afraid to shave, station another hand at the straps of my two-sizes-too-big tankini to keep my tabooed tits safe from sight, praying praying praying that everyone would just forget I was there.

And, for the most part, they did.   

Though, little did I know, everything would soon change.

Everything.

•     •     •


The year was 2010. The month was January. It was the start of my third marking period of seventh grade, so—as promised—my mom finally allowed me to get sidebangs. And I started wearing bras. And I started showering more than twice per week.

So I became hot.

And Carter Allford became my boyfriend.

He was a blonde, bowl-cutted lacrosse player who was good at math. He asked me to be his girlfriend over AIM, which I was now capable of using through my iPod Touch.

We talked every waking hour of every single day. We passed notes in class. We held hands under the lunch table. We’d even put our devices in plastic bags to shower text. He defaulted his text message signature to “i<3lizz,” whereas I made the effort to sign every instant message with “i<3carter.”

We even decided that, when we turned eighteen, we’d lose our virginities to each other.

(We were thirteen.)

Well, actually… when that deflowering decision was made, Carter was only twelve. That part’s crucial. Because Carter’s thirteenth birthday was the day that I’d, once and for all, make out.

He’d never made out either, so we were both nervous… but we knew it had to be done. So we planned it all out. And I felt a little okay, cause at least I had applesauce. Though I couldn’t share this shred of confidence with Carter; I didn’t want him to think I was trying too hard, and I didn’t want Izzy to get mad at me, and I really didn’t want to have Josh Kent’s spectral kin haunting me for the rest of my days.

I doubt Carter would’ve even believed me, anyway. It did sound a bit insane.


•     •     •


February 15th: a sunny, cloudless, post-Valentine’s Day North Jersey Monday—the day my life changed forever.

Mom helped me pick up a nice little ice cream cake from Dairy Queen, with a cursive “Happy Birthday, Carter!” impeccably iced on—in blue icing, to be exact. And the rest was chocolate, inside and out. Favorite color, favorite flavor. Excellent.

I walked in, said my obligatory parent hellos, and had Mrs. Allford place the cake in the freezer—for later.

I was tense. And so was Carter.

I don’t even think he looked at the cake.

Post-formalities, we strode over to Carter’s basement door, closed it shut behind us, sealed our fate. We then floated over to his Xbox area—hand in hand, just as we’d planned.

I watched him play COD for about thirty-five minutes, which was fun.

Then, ever so suddenly, he put his controller down, picked up the remote, and shut off the TV. Then, ever so subtly, he put his arm around me. He kissed my head. Okay, I thought, this is gonna be it. I turned into him. You can do this. I kissed his cheek. He pulled back out. We stared. You’re going to do this. My eyes were afraid, and so were his, but we were ready and we had promised so before anyone could chicken out we just started—


Applesauce, applesauce, applesauce…


For fear of the Nolatta serpentine fatality, we—of course—did not use tongue. So Carter let me lead the way and I did the only thing I knew I could. There was no lip sucking, face touching, neck kissing—not even that cute pushing-her-hair-behind-the-ear thing. Just our lips moving around each other as awkwardly as humanly possible.


App-ill-sauce, a-pull-saw-suh, ah-pill-sass…


Though sometimes, when miming the “p” movement with pursed lips, I’d find my mouth stuck inside of his, lips plastered together between his tongue and the roof of his mouth, and I’d just have to mouth the magic word until I got out. I started being more careful, so I did it real slow, and I caught myself whispering it aloud—            

I felt him pushing me away.  

Does he think the sound is weird?

I resisted.

Am I a bad kisser?

He pushed harder.

No way. He’s just playing around.

I continued, normal pace, no vocals.

Applesauce, applesauce…

But he got stronger and stronger, kept pushing and pushing and pushing and pushing

“I CAUGHT YOU SUCKERS!”

I opened my eyes, looked up at the sound.

And there, towering above me, stood none other than Mrs. Allford.

She smiled maniacally, eyes wide, hands on hips. I’d been shoved to the other side of the couch, now feet away from Carter. She looked over at him, eyes wider, nodded—then bent down to me, got right up in my face, saw straight through my watery eyes and sneered:

“Nice try.”

Frozen.

She held her smile, strutted backwards, landed right next to a looming Mr. Allford. They locked eyes. She motioned for him to come closer to us and he did as instructed, revealing, in his hands, the Dairy Queen ice cream cake. It was laid out on a nice dish with a tiny, shiny cake cutter placed beside it; it had thirteen multicolored candles, all already lit, placed atop it; and Mr. Allford even held two little paper plates, with two little plastic forks—for us.

“Well,” said Mrs. Allford. Her grin grew, eyes burned into mine. “Let’s sing, I guess!”

And so we all sang.

The entire. Fucking. Song.

Slowly.

“Make a wish, Carter!”

They left the cake on the coffee table, placed the two paper plates and the two plastic forks in front of us, walked away without a word. But I could hear them whispering as they started up the stairs, and I wanted to cover my ears, and I wish I did, because there’s one line that my brain just won’t let me forget:

“And why the hell was she saying applesauce? 

I sat. Carter sat.

We stared.

Ahead.

At the TV.

We did not speak.

We did not move.

For a very

very

l o n g

time.

“Lizz…” He did not turn.

“Why…” He paused, sighed.

“Why… uh… why did you say applesauce?”

Um…

“Were you doing that… thing?

Uh…

“You know Josh Kent’s brother made that up to mess with him… right?”

Nope.

•     •     •

Nine years later, I’m still embarrassed. But I’m proud to say that, this spring, I’ll be graduating college having fully mastered the art of making out. And this past Valentine’s Day, when the clock struck midnight and I was forced to face February 15th, I sat snugly at a jazz club’s candlelit table, right in the royal company of Hannibal and Thundercat, and I did not hear nor say nor mouth any semblance of that accursed a-word.