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Vomit and Tampons
by Kara Carlson

I au pair for five children in New Zealand. Yesterday the two-year-old torpedoed tears, bull-charged down the hallway, and collided with my shin. I folded him in my arms and stood. His forearms blanketed my shoulders. My left fingertips smoothed the back of his neck. I murmured, asking why he was crying. He vomited in my hair.

Two hours later, I started my period. The parents, five kids, and I were on a two-week-long vacation on the South Island in a midget-sized beach town called Karitane. Population four hundred and twenty-seven.

Intelligent females track their periods. I never know. Each month it's a shock and surprise. Like my deteriorating driving record. After stripping my bags and raping my purse, I located two tampons. The solitary town store closed at five-thirty, and it was six.

I inserted one tampon and stationed the other on my bed. By midnight, the tampon had absconded. I reconnaissanced the surrounding area for the woman plug. It wasn't on or in my bed, shelves, bags, or bathroom. I queried my brain on if I had fabricated the existence of the second one. I audited the living room, sitting room, and ping-pong room. I stalked the hallway, yard, and two bedrooms. I interrogated my mental capability. I thought I had a second one.

An hour later, I detected it. The kids had used the still-wrapped unused tampon as a boat. It was accompanied by plastic warships in the kitchen sink.