Rachel Sherman


She is a watching babysitter, not a playing one. She is a day sitter, not a night.

“My boyfriend speed races,” my babysitter says. Grease Lightning.

My mother knows it is the boyfriend. He made my babysitter pluck my mother’s engagement ring from where it fit in her satin jewelry box.

Her boyfriend is a drag racing fool. He was in jail. He is the best my fat babysitter can do, my mother says.

My babysitter’s own engagement ring—not the one her boyfriend stole—is in her own house. She does not wear it to sit me, but she tells me about the pink diamonds around it, and the way it is Princess cut. Her boyfriend got down on his knee, even though he is shorter and smaller than her. He asked for her hand and she gave it to him.

When my father gave my mother the ring, he didn’t get down on one knee. I asked. My mother said it wasn’t like that. It was something else.

One day, while I am at camp, my mother and father sit my babysitter down on the couch. They tell her that they know about the ring.

When I get home, my parents are talking.

“PWT,” my father says, which I know stands for Poor White Trash.

My mother nods.

“The boyfriend,” she says.

One babysitter I had let you eat coconut straight from the bag. A couple babysitters liked my little brother better. Some babysitters fall asleep before you do. The one that left the quickest traced the shape of my face in lipstick on the mirror.

My babysitter stole my mother’s ring and she is the only one to do it. That’s why we remember her name and how fat she was; how her boyfriend, or someone, made her.