“Charlie” by Sarah Leslie

05 May 2017 on Fiction   Tags: ,

I remember once hearing my mum liked doing the unexpected. She convinced my dad to name me Charlie, even though I was a girl. She said I’d undoubtedly be unique. He wanted to name me something American and classic like Estelle or Ruby or Ella or Jeanne. Soon after she died, when it was just Papa and me, he told the story of my name, shook his head and then he picked up his guitar and played “The Girl from Ipanema.” That night we ate blackberry pie for dinner and drank some watered-down beer. He took me outside to look at the moon. I remember we stood on the porch a long time. Me and my dad in our overalls rolled up past our ankles. When I went to sleep that night, I could hear his laughter mixed with another woman’s. In the morning, she was gone, but I could still smell her perfume.

Papa always kissed pretty women. I remember them wearing long dresses with printed flowers. By the end of the night the hem of their dress was usually in their lap, showing their boots, sometimes their calves. Papa would rub his hand so gently on their skin, different than the way he scratched the top of my head after we’d helped sheep give birth or collected eggs from the chickens. The women would look at him, then over at me. If they really wanted my Papa they’d say, “Shouldn’t she be asleep?” He’d wink over at me. “Charlie decides her own bedtime.” Usually that was my cue to leave the room.

In the morning, if they’d spent the night and had plans to spend more, they’d play house and pretend that I was their little girl. They’d make me eggs or pancakes and look over at my Papa the way you do when you’re remembering something you’re not quite sure you’ve made up. I remember they’d say things like, “Charlie, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Or, “drink your milk, Charlie. It has lots of calcium that growing girls need.” When I was older I read those same things on cereal boxes. I don’t know who was repeating whom, but I do know both the cereal boxes and the women who liked my Papa had similar intentions to win me over.

Of all the women who came over to kiss Papa, I loved Annie the best. Annie moved in with us and never told me to eat my vegetables. She smelled like honeysuckle and butter cookies. When I couldn’t go to sleep, she’d rub my back and sing silvery songs. She’d paint in the house while Papa worked and I went to school. Annie always put a lot of time into making dinner and setting the table, even if she was in the middle of a really important painting. I’d help her chop the squash or onions and I remember she’d ask me about the books I was reading or what I had seen on my walk to school. In the spring, I’d bring her flowers that I picked on my way home. “Charlie,” she’d say, “where did you find these?” Annie would put them in a jar, arranging them and stepping back the way she did from her paintings. Then she’d listen to me talk. She’d really listen. Annie would sit down on the front step with me, still wearing her apron and holding her ice tea.

“We’re studying the gold rush and the whole class is reading a book about it. I like the book, but Ms. Eaton says since I’m such a fast reader and the class is reading it aloud she’s afraid she’ll lose my attention. So, she gave me another book to read, too. Ms. Eaton says the main character has a boy’s name like me, and that she reminds her of me in other ways, too. Robert teased me for having to read two books. He said I must be really behind the rest of the class if I have to do double the work.”

Annie usually didn’t interrupt. She’d let me talk until I didn’t have anything more to say. Sometimes she was quiet and sometimes she’d tell me about her day. Later, she’d bring up something I had mentioned the same way she brought up a cabinet door in the house that needed fixing. “I didn’t read as much as you do, Charlie. Instead, I drew. I drew on all the homework and the exercises we did in class. There was a boy like Robert in my class, too. His name was Billy. He teased me the way Robert teases you. There’s always a boy like Robert or Billy, Charlie.”

The tone of Annie’s voice was different when she talked to Papa than when she talked to me. Sometimes it sounded closed and sharp, almost like she was upset with him, only I never knew what Papa had or hadn’t done to make her angry. When she spoke to her sister on the phone her voice opened, taking on more breath. It wasn’t often that she and her sister talked, but when they did I’d see her sitting on the chair in the kitchen wrapping the cord of the phone 'round her arm and undoing it, then wrapping it again. Sometimes she’d get up for a drink of water, but mostly she’d just sit in the chair. Her body was present in the room, but her mind somewhere else, far away from our house and the hills that surrounded it.

Annie was really particular about cleanliness. On school day mornings she’d brush my hair before I went to school. It wasn’t very long—a little past my ears, maybe, but she said it was important to look respectable. She was really careful when she brushed it. If she found a knot she’d pull it out with her hands before she brushed it again. She’d stand back and look at my clothes, adjust the bottom of my sweater or tuck some hair behind my ear. I got used to Annie coming to the door before I left, even if I hadn’t yet called out goodbye. We were quiet with each other, but after she thought I looked presentable she’d say, “There, now you can go to school. Have a good day.”

I guess Papa didn’t care one way or the other how I looked or what I wore, but from time to time, after dinner when I was doing my homework at the kitchen table he’d look over my shoulder.

“Those are some big math problems for a little girl. You holding up alright, Charlie? You learning your arithmetic? They teaching it to you? Let’s see, I don’t remember learning this stuff when I was so young. You’re not falling behind now, are you Charlie?”

I’d shake my head. I understood most of what Ms. Eaton taught us, and if I didn’t I’d ask her before I walked home from school.

“Alright, Charlie. Keep studying. I don’t want you to fall behind. I’ve told the teacher that if you do she should call me in. What’s her name again?

“Ms. Eaton.”

“Ms. Eaton. She hasn’t been teaching so long. She’s young. Well, Charlie you keep paying attention and learning your multiplication tables.”


One night I had a really bad dream. I had to knock on the door where Papa and Annie slept. “Papa. Papa. Papa.” Annie’s face appeared from behind the opening door. She looked down at me and brought me into my room. I remember she took my sleeping clothes off because they were clinging to me the way Cat does when I carry her near water. I didn’t care that Annie was seeing me naked. I just remember thinking it was the first time someone had undressed me like that since Mum died. I squeezed my head into Annie’s stomach and I remember watching the biggest tears I had ever seen fall from my face. Annie held me and didn’t leave the room ‘til I fell back to sleep.

The next morning, Papa and Annie had a really big fight. I remember walking out the front door, past the vegetables and herbs, past the lettuce and cabbage, past the stone wall. I walked to the stream and sat on the bank thinking about Mum and how she always did the unexpected. Then I took off my overalls and waded into the stream with the water skippers and the stones. I sunk down so the water came up just to my eyes and I could hear its rushing. I dipped my head under and came up gasping for breath. The water was cold. After that I lay on the bank looking up at the trees and the sunlight coming through them.


I walked back the way of the stream as long as I could, then I curved around and walked through the field. The grass was up to my knees. I picked a piece and put it between my teeth, the way farmers do.

After Mum died it was hard to tell if I was remembering her or just making up memories. I tried to think of the clear-call tone of her voice, her half-smirk, half-hidden laughter when I said something funny, how she held her fork so delicately when she brought it to her lips. I wished to remember the whole of her at once. I went over the parts of her I could recall so much they became like old photographs—so bent and curled at the edges that you couldn’t make out what was in focus. And you know when you look at photographs over and over they become so studied you just think of what their relationship is to you instead of the photographs themselves? I think that might’ve been the worst thing about her being dead, that there was no way I could ever hold up my memory to the real of her and compare the two. I could do all the remembering I wanted to, but it still wouldn’t bring Mum back.

When I got back to the house Papa was starting up the truck. He stopped when he saw me come into view.

“What’s up, Charlie?”

I shrugged.

“You missed breakfast. Annie and I didn’t know where you went. She made pancakes too, but little sunflower, the griddle’s cold, Annie left, and I have to go into town. You come with me. We’ll figure out what to do with you.”

I walked up to the truck and climbed into the passenger’s seat. It was old. Teal paint was peeling off the sides. Springs and stuffing were coming out of the seats. More and more often Papa needed to jumpstart the engine, or his friend Carlos came over to help him. Papa knew just as much about cars as he did about animals and I thought the real reason Carlos came over was so they could drink beer and say the names of tools as they passed them back and forth to each other.

Annie didn’t like Carlos and I didn’t either. He hadn’t ever given me reason not to, but he gave off a feeling that I didn’t want to have near me and especially didn’t want to let him near touching me. Carlos was always adjusting where his pants fell, even though he wore a belt. He smelled of an after-shave that had too many scents in it, as if to cast his net wide, to reel in any kind of women. His hair was smoothed back, like he just got out of the shower and his fingernails were pristine. That was the thing about Carlos: he was so well-groomed that it seemed like he was covering up something. When he came over, I grabbed Cat and sat in the living room, looking out the window, where I could see Papa and him without them noticing me.

The whole drive into town I was quiet, crossing my fingers in my pockets so the car wouldn’t break down and we wouldn’t need to call Carlos to help us fix it.


Max was standing just inside the record store when we pulled up. Papa idled the engine and called out the window.

“Can you do me a favor, Max?”

“Afternoon, Pedro.”

“This one’s stuck with me for the afternoon. Would you mind if I left her with you for a little?”

Max walked ahead of me through the door. The bell jingled on the handle. I’d been in the sunshine long enough that inside everything was darkness. Piano music played softly. I watched dust slowly float to the ceiling, caught in the light from the low-lit bulbs. A desk and cash register were propped against a wall.

Max led me past rows of records to the back of the store. We entered another room with light blue walls, a wooden table, a small fridge that hummed loudly, and on a wall, next to the fridge, a framed photograph of Max and a woman I’d never seen before. They were dressed up: Max in a jacket and collared shirt, and she in a long dress that scooped at the neckline. I stared at her collarbones, the curve of her neck. Max sat down on a stool.

“So, what do you want to do while you wait for your pops to come pick you up?”

I shrugged my shoulders.

“You don’t have to sit out in the store, little chickadee. There’s plenty you can do in here. There’s cards, magazines, pencils and paper—You hungry? There’s even some cornbread and strawberry jam and cheese.” I was hungry, but I didn’t think it right to take Max’s lunch.

“Where did the cornbread come from?”

“Louisa baked it and she made the strawberry jam, last June when the first strawberries were coming up. Guess someone came through the town she grew up in and stayed with her family when she was little. They were French or British or something. I don’t know, some kind of European. They taught her to bake and make all these fancy things. I think she was really pleased at the time, because she was stuck at home taking care of her little sisters and brothers while the rest of her family worked in the fields. When she finished eighth grade they couldn’t afford for her to go back to school so she spent hours cooking and cleaning and looking after her siblings. Then this Brit or Frenchman came to stay with them, who was studying the flora in that particular climate of Mexico. In addition to teaching her to bake, he taught her English—yes, that’s it—he wasn’t British, but his father was. I think he was Spanish—he and Louisa had a language in common. He made Louisa memorize the recipes in English, teaching her vocabulary along the way.”

“Who is Louisa, Max?”

“That’s right. You weren’t at the wedding and I haven’t seen you since, well, since you were younger than now, anyway.”

I think Max stumbled over his words cause the last time I saw him was when Mum was still alive. Max and Mum were really good friends. They met when they were young too. Maybe they’d even been in a band together. When Papa met Mum, he didn’t like how much she hung out with Max and he told her so. Mum must have still visited Max because he knew a lot about my life.

Ever since she died adults were always stumbling over how to say she was dead when they were talking to me. They wouldn’t just come out and say ‘died’ or ‘dead.’ I wished they would. It didn’t change anything when they avoided the words; they just made death seem worse, like they shouldn’t admit it in front of me. Max wasn’t the worst of them. Oftentimes they sought after words as if tripping and catching themselves and tripping again, the way a person walking on a cobbled street can when she’s not paying attention to her footing. You just watch her like she’s a puppet or in an animation, stopping and starting, stiff and uncertain. Maybe adults thought I was abrupt or blunt when I said my Mum was dead. Sometimes they opened their eyes wide and then put a hand on my shoulder and tried to change the subject. Max went on.

“I don’t know the last time I saw you, Charlie, but I met Louisa a few years ago. She was working on a chicken ranch—I don’t know why I was there—I must have been photographing or something. Anyway, she was working on this chicken ranch and she just looked so sad that I came back the next day and brought her a record. No, that’s not it, Charlie, I brought her lilies.” Max smirked. “I brought her lilies and she gave them back to me saying she didn’t like the smell of them, they made her sad. I think she said she always wanted to like them, but she couldn’t shake the memory that came along with their scent. She was kind about it. She felt bad about turning down a gift. I felt embarrassed—my courting trick hadn’t worked.”

The bell jingled on the door. Max got off the stool and peeked 'round the door frame.

“It’s Liza. I’m gonna have to help her. You gonna be alright, Charlie? It shouldn’t take too long. I’ll come back to check on you when I’m done out here. Hi Liza, how you doing today?”

I stared up again at the photograph of Max and Louisa. Louisa was smiling, even with her eyes. Max was too. Louisa held a bouquet of flowers in her right hand: sage, rosemary, lavender and nasturtiums. She and Max were holding hands.

When Papa came to pick me up I was thinking of the empty space in my stomach. Papa came into the store, which was unusual, most of the time he tried to acknowledge Max as little as possible. I think it was to diminish his role in Mum’s life. Papa seemed smug when he opened the door. He took big steps in his work boots as he walked towards Max behind the counter.

“How’s it going, Max? How’s my little girl? You listen to some good tunes, Charlie?” Max looked up from the change he was counting when Papa spoke to him, but he looked down again to finish. He left Papa’s words waiting there so long I wondered if Papa had spoken them at all. Papa walked over to me on a stool, behind the counter and patted my head. I felt my hair rub against my scalp. Max finally spoke and when he did Papa looked up surprised.

“Your girl’s hungry, Pedro. She’s been sitting all day in a record store. She should be with her family or friends, especially on a Saturday and she should have food in her belly.” Max looked at me.

‘How old are you now, eight, nine?’


“Eight. Well, Peter, your little girl’s growing and even though it’s calm and peaceful in the record store this isn’t the place for her. She needs attention, Peter. You can’t go running all over town and leave Charlie unfed. And do you know she’s so polite she wouldn’t take my lunch from me, even when I cut it in half and put it on a plate for her? She wouldn’t touch it. I sure do know where she got her kind-heartedness from and it’s not from you. What do you have to do on a Saturday that’s so important anyway, besides making farm calls and taking care of your little one? And if you’re stopping at farms, how come Charlie can’t come with you? It’d be some good time together and it’s a chance to teach her more about animals and how to take care of them. In fact, that makes me wonder, how come you’re so good at caring for other animals’ offspring and not your own? I have some more things to say to you, but I won’t in front of our present company. I have an idea of what you’ve been up to and I don’t like it. Next time you need a place to drop Charlie off, you should think real hard about the implications. Pretty soon husbands are going to start getting anxious when you’re around the way they’re anxious of milkmen.”

The whole time I’d been in the store I didn’t know Max was angry with Papa. Between the waves of customers, he’d been joking with me and putting on songs he thought I’d like. When he finished talking, he began other chores, organizing the receipts and plugging numbers into the cash register. He didn’t even look up at Papa to see how his words were taking affect.

Papa stared at Max. He didn’t open his mouth or say anything, he just took me by the hand and walked me out of the record store. I waved goodbye to Max and he looked up and winked at me.

Papa started the truck and shook his head ever so slightly.

“What’s next, Sugar Pumpkin?” I closed my eyes and squished my cheeks into them.

“I don’t know, Papa, but I’m hungry.”

“I know you are. I know you are. Let’s get pizza.”

“I just want to go home.”

Papa nodded. “Okay, home it is.”


Papa and I didn’t say anything more to each other. We didn’t turn the radio on, either. I looked out the window. The rolling hills. The brick buildings. The river, quiet in its dug-out canal. I pictured Cat waiting on the front porch, hunched, a four-dimensional figure eight, her tail curled beside her body, adding volume to the larger part of the eight. I still didn’t know where Annie went. Papa hadn’t said. It was rare that she just left like that, especially on the weekend. I couldn’t tell what Papa’s mood was, but I thought it better not to talk to him. I hummed softly to myself. The song was supposed to be a round so I went ‘round and ‘round with it. Eventually the wheels of the truck rolled on the gravel of our driveway.

I opened the door before Papa took the key out of the ignition. I think he was going to say something to me, but I didn’t feel like waiting around to hear it and when I started walking to the house he let it be. I walked up our front steps. Cat on the railing, just as I pictured her. I turned the knob of the front door and walked into the kitchen. I remember being so hungry that I couldn’t think of what to eat, all I could picture was Louisa’s cornbread and strawberry jam.

Papa came into the kitchen, carrying his veterinarian bag. He pulled a chair from the kitchen table and sat down in it. I looked at his face. Papa no longer showed signs of excitement, as he had in Max’s record store. Instead his wrinkles cast deeper shadows. If you were to draw Papa right now you’d want to use charcoal. Papa leaned back in his chair. He put his foot on top of his other knee.

“So it’s just you and me for a while. You hungry? What do you want? I’m sorry Charlie, I know you went a long time without eating. I had to handle an emergency. I’ll tell you about it later, just not right now. It’s been a long day and we haven’t even reached sunset. What do you want? Chicken? Chile? Waffles? Eggs?”

Cat came into the kitchen and rubbed her body against the leg of the kitchen table. She moved over to Papa’s legs and rubbed against them too. The fridge hummed. I scratched my arm.

“Hmm? You must be hungry, Charlie. What would you like, what do you want?”

I slid off the counter and pulled a chair out from the table. I was so tired that I just melted into it, my arms supporting me like a pillow. I think Papa got up then and poured me some orange juice. He put ice cubes in it and added some water.

“Here you go. Have this. We’ll start with this.”

He put a straw in it and I sipped it down quickly. It felt like it gave me energy as soon as it reached my stomach. You know how sugar can do that when you haven’t eaten anything?

Papa started taking things out of the fridge and heating up the griddle. I didn’t pay much attention. I just watched Cat rub against Papa’s legs and the legs of the kitchen table. She must have sensed not to come towards me.

The telephone rang. I was too tired to get up and Papa didn’t stop what he was doing. It just rang and rang until eventually whoever was on the other end decided to hang up. I put my head back down on the table and listened to Papa’s cooking sounds. He was chopping something, taking slow, precise cuts. I heard the plastic bag that held the bread rustle and soft butter spread into bread. Then the sizzle of something hitting the griddle. Papa was satisfied with how things were cooking. I could tell by his silence. He was concentrated. I heard him open up the cupboard and put two plates on the counter top. He opened the fridge again and the door let go of its suction, almost giving up too easy. A glass container filled with liquid echoed on the counter top and Papa put down two glasses. He walked towards the griddle, flipping whatever was on it. Again, the sizzle and still, Papa’s silence.

He was concentrating so hard on cooking that it felt like he had forgotten I was in the room. He didn’t say anything. I don’t know if he looked over at me, either. I think that was what made being around Papa different than being around other people. He didn’t try to make conversation with me when I didn’t with him.

I thought of an older woman who had described Papa as wise, once. She caught me by the arm as I was leaving the grocery store while picking up some eggs and milk for Annie.

“You know your Papa’s a good one,” she said. “Don’t you let him forget that.”

I looked up at her. She sat on a barrel. Her skirt was caught ‘round her legs, her cane

leaning against the wall behind her. I didn’t recognize her but she knew my name.

“You know what wise means, Charlie?” I nodded my head. The eggs and milk knocked against each other in the paper bag. Annie was waiting, but the old woman looked serious. She went on.

“King Solomon was wise. You know who King Solomon is, Charlie?” I nodded my head again, but the old woman kept on speaking.

“We don’t have rulers like those in The Bible. He knew how to keep peace. Do you know the story of King Solomon, Charlie?” I nodded but she paid no attention.

“Two women came into court claiming they both were the mother of a baby. They were both near tears, their voices high in desperation as they pleaded with King Solomon to recognize the blood tie between them and the baby. Wise King Solomon knew there could only be one mother, but upon looking at them and their tears he told them he would cut the baby in half and solve their misery. They both could have one half of the baby. He drew his sword, ready to split the baby down the middle. One woman cried out, pleading with him not to cut the baby in half, the other woman could have him. He stopped, his sword inches away from the middle of the baby’s brow. In this moment, he knew that the woman asking for the boy’s life, the woman who was ready to sacrifice her well-being for the boy’s, was the baby’s mother. To the surprise of both the women, he handed the baby to the woman who minutes before had accepted that the baby would go to the other woman to preserve his life even though it meant she would lose him. And so, using his strong morals, intelligence, and wisdom, King Solomon determined the true mother of the child. You remember that story, Charlie.”

The woman looked me in the eye. I waited for her to say more, but it seemed she was through. She leaned back against the wall and closed her eyes. I hurried back home, knowing that Annie was waiting.

My head was still down on the table but it was positioned so that I could see Papa’s feet moving from the counter to the stove and back again. I was so prepared for a long wait that I was surprised when they walked in my direction. I heard the clunk of Papa putting two plates down and looked up. They both had a grilled cheese sandwich and a pickle.  The sandwich was cut in half like it was from a diner—diagonally and soft cheese melted from its sides. Papa was still quiet, but I could tell he was pleased. We ate in silence.

I lay down on the sofa after eating. The light came in, slanted and warm. Cat snaked in and curled next to me. I looked up at the ceiling, the bookshelves across from me. I must have fallen asleep cause the next thing I remember was the light dwindling. I called out for Papa to tell me the time, but he didn’t call back.

I got up off the sofa, disrupting Cat, who leapt down to the floor startled, but swift. I padded into the kitchen. It was empty of Papa, the dishes were on the drying rack, the table spare. Papa wasn’t in the room he and Annie slept in, either. I could feel my heart speeding up in my chest. I put on my shoes and my jacket and opened the front door. Cat squeezed out.

“Papa, Papa? Where are you?”

I waited a moment but didn’t hear any response. I couldn’t see him anywhere in the garden and his truck was still in the driveway so I knew he was somewhere around, but it was almost scarier knowing he could be somewhere nearby when I couldn’t find him. The only other place Papa could be was the tool shed, but no light was coming out of the windows. I started running towards it anyway, across the driveway, the gravel grating beneath my feet.

When I got to the tool shed my heart was pounding and I was out of breath. I was too scared to call out. I put my hand on the shed doorknob, crossing fingers in my pocket. The door swung open. It was dark in the tool shed and I couldn’t make out anything.

“Damn—who’s there?”

“Me, Charlie.” I spoke softly. My heart was still beating fast—fast like a rabbit’s and my breath was coming in sharp and quick.

“Damn, Charlie, you scared me.”

“I couldn’t find you, Papa. I think I fell asleep on the couch and when I woke up I looked everywhere for you. I didn’t know where you were. Usually Annie’s in the house, if you aren’t and everything feels so different today. I thought maybe you’d disappeared too.”

Papa was sitting on a stool, his body facing the door. He was silent a while and then he got up off the stool and pulled one out for me. It was covered in sawdust. He brushed it off, then gave me the clean one and sat down on the saw dusted one.

“I wouldn’t disappear, Charlie. I promise I wouldn’t. Here you can sit down.”

I climbed up onto the stool and caught my breath. I looked up at Papa. The tools were quiet on the wall. Cat curled her way around the door and meowed until I picked her up. Papa sighed.

“It’s been a strange day but we’ll figure things out.”

“When’s Annie coming back?”

“She’s not coming back, Charlie, only for her things. She’s moving in with her sister.”

“Why, what happened?”

“I’m not going to tell you all the details, a lot happened. I just got off the phone with Annie and in short, she’s upset. On top of it all, she just found out that her sister’s sick. She said she didn’t want to leave like that, without saying goodbye to you, but when it came down to it, she had to leave in a hurry. She said she’ll be back to give you a hug and a goodbye when she picks up her things.

“When will she come?”

“She said she’s not going to be able to come back for three weeks. When’s the last day of school?

“Sometime in June.”

“June? She’ll come sooner than the last day of school.”

I wanted to lean back, but there wasn’t anything to lean back into. Papa took off his hat and patted down his hair. Three weeks was a long time.

“It’s just you and me now.”

I tried to hold my tears in, but they came out anyway. I looked down at the floor, the sawdust was blurry no matter how much I tried to make it come into focus. Papa must have known I was crying. He didn’t say anything. Cat changed her position on my lap and then leapt off the stool.


I don’t remember how we made our way out of the tool shed, if Papa took my hand or if he just walked behind me, steering my body by holding onto my shoulder. I don’t remember what we did that night, if we ate dinner or how I fell asleep. The next morning, Sunday, felt especially quiet. No one was in the kitchen when I came out of my room. I decided to sit on the stairs of our front porch and hope that Cat would find me.

Papa was out there already. He was playing his guitar. Slow, light notes. The sun was coming up behind us. Poppies and ranunculus were catching the light. Cirrus clouds spread out across the sky. I thought about how the sound of the word “cirrus” went with the shape, soft and wispy. Papa lay the guitar down. He turned around and looked at me.

“How’d you sleep?”


He nodded.


Papa got up. Walked inside. I stared out at the plants, the hills, the sky.


Sarah Leslie is an artist and writer currently based in Los Angeles. She writes poetry, fiction and non-fiction and holds an MFA in Writing from California Institute of the Arts. Her work has been featured in various publications, including Ephemera: Next Words Anthology 2015 and Notes on Looking: Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. You can find her on her website at sarahalexandraleslie.com or on Instagram at @stellareed .

Photography by Adeline Boyson

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