If you turned your back on the deep end of the pool, a great white shark would burst out of the vent and have you in its jaws faster than you could scream, “MOMMMMM!”

I learned this dark secret shortly after my sister stopped playing mermaids with me in our sun-blue pool, opting instead to bronze her freckled legs while shading her face with Cosmo’s pink pages. My looming death at the jaws of the pool shark was almost scarier than realizing that my sister no longer wanted to play our favorite games.


Through my foggy-blue goggles, I can see us years earlier, huddled over the family macintosh in the corner of the laundry room. We are choosing hats from the hat shop, each one more polka-dotted and striped than the last. My sister is master of the mouse. I barely breathe as the cursor hovers for a brief moment over my favorite, blue-spotted hat before zipping up and left towards ☒. Click. The window expands then shrinks and the hats disappear. Behind it is a window with blank, blue-lined, digital paper. Her freckled hands type. Click. The computer man’s voice reads the one-word poem aloud to us, “Fahhrrt.” Click. “FAHHRRT.” There’s not enough air in the room for our laughter and we drown in giggles.

Mari Amend is a storyteller and activist taking up space in San Francisco—follow her on twitter or insta @sorrynotmari.