Say it. Now say it again with a marble held between your beaver teeth, lips peeled back and tongue marshmallowed toward uvula. Repeat the first part with the intention of speaking French, clicking the T a sure sign you’re not of these woods. The second part rhymes with wiggle, but imagine the letter I is the screeching of the barn cat in heat, the shrill of machinery at dad’s factory job. Try it with the heaviness of too-little sleep, the indulgence of $1 Yuengling happy hours. Say it like you’ve forgotten the one ingredient that makes grandma’s Italian pasta salad taste like childhood, but stores close after 10pm. Say it like you’ve not escaped those woods, you’ve not searched in every other grocery chain bakery for the chocolate fudge cookies you savored since nesting in mom’s shopping cart. Repeat until it becomes true. Giant Eagle. Gian Eagle. Gian Iggle. Say it until it doesn’t hurt to live elsewhere.
Lauren Kardos (she/her) writes from Washington, DC, but she’s still breaking up with her hometown in Western Pennsylvania. You can find her on Twitter @lkardos.
image: MM Kaufman