Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1999: No. 1 Believe by Cher
A warbled voice pounding from a stereo in the living room, the girl in front of it
a few years my senior
so in kid years,
pretty much an adult.
Played that song on repeat until her parents kicked us out into the garage where I
played truth or dare for the first time,
ate a piece of a crayon, maybe
kissed her on the lips.
The game ended in Greek tragedy miniature when I dared her to run into the house
and confess she was a lesbian—
I think I had just learned what one was.
Her mother's eyes bulged as she leapt from the couch,
screamed at her with a sort of rage unheard of in my own house and I ran
from the corner where I had been watching,
hid in their garage,
but the girl never came back—
most likely sent to her room. Still I waited for hours fiddling with crayons until
I finally slipped out,
a song by Cher stuck in my head.
Shaw Patton is currently pursuing an MFA in fiction at FSU. He is a Japanese-American who can barely speak Japanese. Since high school he has lived in Florida. He co-owns a restaurant in Tallahassee and lives with his long-time partner, two dogs, and a flock of chickens. He was once runner-up in the New Yorker cartoon caption contest.