When people ask me where I am from, I say Mansfield, Ohio

by Brett Cortelletti —
but sometimes I forget and say that I’m from Ontario.
Nobody knows where Ontario, Ohio is. “Like Ontario,
Canada,” they ask me. They have hung on my
earlobes the task of informing them, “no, it’s a small
city to the west of Mansfield, you may have seen
ours Meijers while passing through on Route-30.”
After being asked about Canada some two
hundred and fourteen times, I got tired of letting people
down when I made first impressions. I did
them the favor of lying, so that their ears could perk up
at knowing someone exotic. Of course, I needed
facts about my new home. “In Canada, families huddle
around the fireplace with warm mugs of beer,
and getting fitted for your first coonskin cap is a right
of passage before your first day of school.
The basements are considered to be the first floor
and any building taller than ten stories
(or nine stories plus a basement in America) is considered
to be a skyscraper. By middle school, everyone
has lost a younger brother or sister to the blizzard
because their older siblings tied the walking
rope in a hurry. I never made this mistake because
I was almost that little brother. You see how
thin I am? The winds almost carry me away to this day”.
If someone fact checked me, they would
most likely find that I was wrong about life in Ontario,
Canada, but who would want to make a liar
out of the most interesting stranger they’ve met
so far that morning?

Brett CortelletiBrett Cortelletti is a senior at Malone University in Canton, Ohio majoring in English Education. Next year, he plans to pursue an MFA or to go into the field of teaching. In addition to being a reader and a writer, he is also a competitive long-distance runner. Most recently, his work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Clarion, 30 North and The Tulane Review.