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Category Archives: Chyler

Chyler’s name varies in pronunciation.


“Eighteen days,” says August firmly. “To the minute.”

“Lord, honey, a year,” drawls Willie. “Or better yet, don’t.”

“Ooh, the same thing happened with me!” exclaims Laura. “And then that Friday, Ben… um, went into a coma.”

“A fortnight!” says Jason happily. “Actually I just wanted to say ‘fortnight.'”

“I don’t know,” says Hector, “A couple days?”

“Two weeks,” says Ayane. “Four weeks. No, two weeks.”

“It’s cool,” says Diego sagely. “Seriously, babe, I don’t mind. What was the question?”

“Five days,” says Agnes.

“A month,” says Tom.

“Just ask him, Chyler,” groans Emily, “honestly, can we talk about something else?”


“Are you okay?”

Kai and Ayane are waiting by the door, concerned. Kai pretty clearly has to go: she’s trying to not to hop from foot to foot. “Yeah!” says Jason, muffled. “Sorry, just a minute!”

“What else can you say to that?” mutters Chyler over a euchre hand.

Agnes cracks a grin, and Hector cracks up. It’s lost on Chyler.

“Like you can just go ‘No, actually,'” she says, in a Jasonesque baritone. “‘Having some difficulty. Think you could come on in and help?'”

Hector’s off his chair, and Agnes covers her eyes. Chyler barely notices. Her hand really sucks.


Chyler’s voice is a little raw, a little stuffy, trembling on the edges. Some of her words burst out accidentally when she speaks, as if her throat’s still tight and she hasn’t quite got control of her diaphragm.

“You want to come over later?” Diego asks, keeping it light and easy.

“Yeah,” she says, “I’ll–I’ll get a cab.” There’s a tired giggle in her words. She’s been sobbing. Or laughing. Or both.

“You want to eat? I can put some noodles on.”

“No,” she says, “not hungry.”

She will be, Diego thinks. He picks down garlic, basil, sage and thyme.


Fantine’s holding forth again, just a bit off the point. Thirty degrees off, maybe. Still horribly wrong.

When she stops to breathe Caleb leaps in to grab the tiller, steering conversation back to saner waters: the weather. Chyler sighs with relief.

“Sure,” she says later, as Fantine pouts, “but I’d rather have snow anyway–”

“Because you can’t throw rain?” Caleb asks.

She looks to him; he looks up; their eyes catch. Flash. Freeze. Chyler swears there are words in his face and crooked smile: You understand, he says. We understand each other. In charm, in understanding, this is our conspiracy.






“Um. Clean?”






“What?” asks Rose, startled.

“Girls smell like MSG,” Diego repeats. “That’s the question, right? What’s the most popular response so far?”

“Just ‘good,'” says Rose. “Nine of twenty-eight couldn’t come up with anything else.”

“Right,” says Diego, “like if you asked them how Chinese food tastes. Only they’d say ‘MSG’ instead of ‘good’ because they’ve been told that’s what it is.”

“Girls smell like Chinese food.”

“No,” he shakes his head, “but it does the same thing. Bypasses your discernment, your categories, all of that. Just hits the pleasure center straight on.”


Chyler wonders whether this is what’s called butterflies, but she doesn’t feel anything in her stomach; it’s her arms and shoulders, which feel tense and oddly bouncy, like springs being twanged. Her hands want to tangle in fabric.

She realizes suddenly that it’s been way too long since she said anything. Say something! Don’t be boring, don’t waste this! She tries to think of jokes. She wants to be clever, smooth, are her legs shaved? When was the last time she–crap!

Caleb’s really enjoying the evening, walking with a new and interesting person. He’ll have to introduce her to Renee.


When Chyler comes back with the marshmallows he’s already asleep where he sits–he hasn’t even moved enough to spill his hot chocolate.

She takes it from his hand. “Weak, boy,” she says. “It’s not even three yet.”

“Um not sleep.” He hasn’t opened his eyes yet, so she tackles him sideways and pins him to the ratty couch. Caleb looks up at her then: a little red-eyed, a little smiling, a little something else.

Their faces are very close. Chyler wants the credits to roll right now, to leave the two of them perfectly undecided, here in this beautiful hesitation.


“I was informed that there would be pillowfights,” says Diego.

“I think first we do each other’s nails? And talk about boys,” says Caleb.

“Actually,” says Chyler, “we probably complain about our thighs while eating the whole damn box of Oreos.”

“I like my thighs okay.”

“That’s why you’re no good at this.”

“We can do the leopard spots in your hair, but not your eyebrows,” explains Ayane. “If it gets in your eyes–”

“But I wanted stripes in them!” says Kai, under the apron. “Like the leopard is hunting them. Zebra eyebrows! Zebrows! Wa-ching!

“Pillowfights?” Diego says sadly. “Pillowfights.”


“The central ethos of Harry Potter–” Fantine begins.

“I’m going to stop you right there,” Chyler says. “I’m doing you a favor. Please understand that, because I like the books, you know? I like them. But when you expound like that you are using a jeweler’s loupe to examine the product of a BeDazzler. Get it? You and Tarantino and fucking Derrida’s ghost–”

“Easy, Chyler,” says Caleb, wandering in and looking startled, so perfect. So Renee.

“You don’t get to talk,” she snaps, and thunders outside. She wants to smoke an angry cigarette, but, she’s disappointed to remember, she doesn’t smoke.


Caleb and Chyler meet without meeting on the last night of winter, at a Mojoday party, apparently. She showed up for Diego, who disappeared after five minutes. Caleb just came to the wrong house.

He walks her home and turns everything bright and nervous. Chyler is a promise of better days to Caleb, who’s tiring of his girlfriend’s friends; it’s 11:59 p.m. and he’s about to explain this when he slips on the grass. Chyler catches his arm. It’s not electric, not slow-motion, but it’s a touch.

He pulls her off balance. Heedless and headlong, they stumble into spring.