Legs by Valentine Sargent

We wear short shorts because it’s hot. We get write ups at high school, more Cassie than me. She has a bigger butt, bigger thighs. Along a road outlined with orange trees, we walk home with dress code slips in our back pockets. We’re thankful our parents scoff and throw them away. 

As we walk, our conversations are interrupted with honks, whistles, men screaming for some “sugar, baby” out their windows. We’ve learned to add them to the background. We tried yelling back, but they move so fast in their noisy cars that they don’t hear us anyway. And it doesn’t stop. The worst is when we see a group of them come our way. That’s when the nasty things they say are closer. Sometimes they don’t say anything but “accidentally” grab a feel. This is what happens when two men saunter toward us. 

One knocks himself against Cassie and grabs her butt, Oh my bad sweetheart. Smile on his face. Cassie turns bright red. She unhooks her right leg out of its socket and throws the twenty-pound limb at him. Her meaty thigh slaps the back of his head so hard we hear a clap before he drops to the cement. She’s about to remove her left leg and she is so angry I know she doesn’t care that she’ll fall, so before she can, I unhook my left leg and use it like a bat to drive my sneaker into the other guy’s stomach. 

We hobble and help each other put our legs back in. We pull oranges as we run away, their green stems hitting our knuckles. We break the skin with our fingernails, throwing the peels toward the dirt. We laugh as the sweet juice drips down our chins. 


Valentine Sargent is originally from the desert, surrounded by saguaros. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Chatham University. Her work has been published in Porter House Review and Honeyguide Literary Magazine. Valentine loves board games, fruit, and sitting under trees. You can follow her on Twitter @valentinesarg28.