Stories No. 32 – Fiona Helmsley

The Transition
by Fiona Helmsley

“Your boyfriend’s hot,” I said, regretting my phraseology by the h sound when I remembered that things were more serious than that, and he wasn’t just her boyfriend anymore. Soon he would be the father of her twins.

Luckily no offense was taken, and she smiled at the opportunity to impart some early morning enlightenment while she waited for the state medical cab that would take her to the methadone clinic.

“You ever have a Spanish boyfriend, mamí?” she asked, her travel wardrobe of grey sweatpants and West Coast Choppers t-shirt committing hari-kari upon her usual, perpetual-teenager cuteness.

She held a coffee cup in one hand, and a lighter in the other, and used the movement of both to accentuate her thoughts – coffee cup down for simple statement, lighter up for something more excitable.

“No, not really,” I said, the really compensating for no, I haven’t dated any, but I’ve screwed a few.

“There are two types of women to a Spanish man, mamí. There’s his baby mama, and there’s his ride-or-die-bitch. A baby mama is his wifey, and she’s gonna be in his life forever. They’re bonded by blood. His ride-or-die-bitch is his shorty, who he goes to for his fun. She’s none of the stress of his baby mama; he goes to her to get away from all that. I was Jose’s ride-or-die-bitch. Now I’m gonna be his baby mama. But I won’t put up with the shit his other one takes. She tricked him into having that baby. He actually wants this one…” She shook her head like her words were semi-permanent, and, if she spoke fast enough, could be erased. “…Two.”

She tossed her lighter up in the air. No longer extending punctuation, it traveled up towards the ceiling like hope. Through the door we could both see the state medical cab pull up outside. During that moment of distraction, her lighter crashed to the ground.

“Alright,” she said. “Gotta get my breakfast of champions. Hold onto that for me, will you, mamí?”

I nodded in her direction, picked up the lighter and put it in my pocket.


Fiona Helmsley is a writer of creative non-fiction and poetry. Her writing can be found in various anthologies like Ladyland and Air in the Paragraph Line and online at websites like Jezebel, Junk Lit, The Hairpin and The Rumpus. Her book of essays, stories, and poems, My Body Would be the Kindest of Strangers is forthcoming in 2015.

Stories @ Digging Through the Fat: Volume 2, Issue 13
May 13, 2015
Photography by: Gessy Alvarez

3 thoughts on “Stories No. 32 – Fiona Helmsley

  1. Yes, this is outstanding. And I especially love how the mama-to-be “punctuates” with the coffee cup & lighter … and so much more.

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