By Andrea Ciannavei


I am not financially literate.
My chaos with money leads me to behave desperately.
Always borrowing.
Always paying back.
A text message came through on Saturday.
A marshal had taken possession of the apartment I kept in New York.
I had been withholding rent. I’m broke.
Eviction proceedings went forward and no one told me.
I’m going to pay. I always do.
Making amends for past wrongs done to others is easier than the ones I am supposed to make to myself.
I am a debtor.
You don’t get more American than me.
The only asset I have is a jeep. No home. No condo. Credit cards maxed.
A renter.
The idea of owning a home makes my mind collapse in on itself.
A hysterical blindness arrives.
Homes and families are not pleasant things. They are heartache and secrets.
They are snake pits full of hissing monotonous gossip.
Choppy sentences. Nimble sidesteps.
The other problem with homes is they have doors.
Nothing good happens behind them when they are closed.

I do own one other thing – I almost forgot:
When I was 16, my mother told me she bought a plot for me at the St.
Francis Cemetery.
Her subconscious is very proactive.
It’s because of her husband. My father.
And her father before him.
Possibly my great-grandfather too but we will never know.
It’s because I was fat and embarrassing. Lane Bryant was the only place we could buy clothes to fit me in the 80s.
She once said to someone after a successful diet I had just completed, that my weight loss was the happiest time in her life.
I am, down to my organs, dropforged by generational sickness and inarticulate rage.
Musty porn magazines in trash bags in the corner of garages.
And now here comes:
Me too. Me too. Me too.
Even more than rapists, molesters, assaulters and the incestuous:
I hate the people who are shocked.
There is a special place in hell for these innocent liars.
What world have they been living in all this time?
And when do I get my one-way ticket there?
Everyone wants to have empathy now.
That’s very nice. But it’s like finally getting the back rent.
Now I know how my New York landlord feels.
All this empathy has finally arrived but it’s 32 years late –
I’ve already cleaned up most of the damage.
Now that everyone wants to listen, I don’t want to tell.
No one gets to hear the details of my incest, or sexual assault when I was 15.
Or being kicked out of an all-girls Catholic school because I made the mistake of telling a girl what happened to me which made her parents mad.
Or the casual harassments on NYC street corners.
Fat asses are low hanging fruit.
No one will hear those details.
None of your business, you know.
Besides, they’re rusted and tangled and thrown willy-nilly
in the little plot of land I own in the St. Francis Cemetery.
My mother wants me buried with the family
but this is all she’s getting:
My jagged metal scrap heap.
I made my friends promise:
Should I die before my parents,
I am to be cremated and tossed into the Pacific Ocean.
No ceremony. No speeches.
Just get rid of the evidence.


Andrea Ciannavei is a Los Angeles-based TV writer and playwright. TV: The Path (Hulu), American Odyssey (NBC Universal), Season 2 of Copper (BBC America), Seasons 1 – 3 of Borgia (Tom Fontana, Executive Producer, Atlantique Creations SASU). Plays include Pretty Chin Up produced at LAByrinth Theater Company (Artistic Directors: Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz) at The Public Theater. She also traveled on behalf of Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman to Thailand, India, South Africa, Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Egypt, Haiti and Ecuador, to conduct interviews and research on human trafficking, sex slavery, gender violence and socio-political and economic issues that impact women. She is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts’ Dramatic Writing Program and Juilliard’s Lila Acheson Playwriting Fellowship 2008-2010. She is a proud member and occupies a seat on the council of WGAE. Visit her website at

Photo credit: Tim Green via a Creative Commons license.

By | 2017-10-29T11:43:10+00:00 November 2nd, 2017|Categories: Issue 47: 02 Nov 2017|Tags: , |1 Comment

One Comment

  1. anovicio 2017-11-02 at 3:42 pm

    What an incredibly honest and intense piece of writing. Sadly I can relate and am so thankful for your courage to share.

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