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Category Archives: Chyler

Chyler’s name varies in pronunciation.


Chyler tells herself she was already over it. Someone shinier will come along.

But she’s stage-managing Virginia Woolf, and somehow he becomes her ASM. Hours alone together in the black box: he smiles at her, plays along with her power trips, talks about Renee. Chyler becomes a little afraid of rehearsal. She gets mad at herself for that. Then at him.

She gets colder and colder; it’s 3 a.m. and they’re striking the set, and for no real reason it finally comes to a fight. Everybody watches him storm out the sliding door.

They don’t speak; and then it’s summer.


Summer’s hot. The news tells Caleb that people are dying of it, in some city up north.

He starts smoking again, ostensibly to help him adjust to the night shift. Nicotine and Cheetos. Stocking boxes bulks up his shoulders, and the hours tire out his eyes.

Caleb’s not stupid: he knows why he and Chyler fell out. He knows the first move is his if it’s anyone’s, but he doesn’t know her address and email won’t cut it.

In September he needs an umbrella: only two weeks until the start of the semester. He visits Renee and, leaving, buys a book.


Chyler meets Renee and she’s exactly as great as Caleb said: sweet and clever, humble and funny, not beautiful enough to hate, but, well. Prettier.

Caleb looks a little bug-eyed the first time the three of them all bump together, but he aplombs it and from then on they’re a tricycle. Renee practices Spanish guitar while Caleb cheats from Chyler’s notes. Caleb cooks them spaghetti in the filthy dorm kitchen. They get each other by.

Caleb left the book in Chyler’s mailbox, their first day back: it’s called Anthropology. She reads it in an hour, and she doesn’t tell Renee.


Caleb breaks it off; Chyler, despite everything, ticks days off the statute of limitations. On the thirty-second he dozes on her couch, and she brings him hot chocolate with cayenne pepper in it, and together, they hesitate.

And Renee? First she can’t sleep. Then she sleeps all the time. She goes off spaghetti for a while–goes off eating, really, but gets over it. She gets better with her guitar. She finds love less piercing and friends less tart.

Like anything glued well, she’ll never break along quite the same lines again; but it’s her story, now, that’s worth following.