Mollie Garnes

Mollie Garnes
Writer & Essayist

San Francisco Bay Area, California



Mollie Garnes essays have been featured on XOJane, The Mighty, and Yahoo Finance. Her work has received publicity from The Daily Mail UK. She attended Santa Clara University for Creative Writing and Playwriting in 2007. In the summer of 2014, she attended Stanford University's extended program for Creative Writing courses. She is a full-time parent to a seven-year-old boy. Her hobbies include cooking, hiking, and professional photography.





Given my symptoms, I’m spending Mother’s Day alone. Well, I’m not technically alone. I’m simply separate. My son and I share a precious few minutes on the phone every day. As I drink my coffee, I listen to my charming five-year-old tell me about how zucchini bread has a funny texture. This is the fabric of our lives. Sometimes, my son and I are pen pals. On supervised weekends together, we’re equals, kindergarteners with overactive imaginations. On golden days, I’m a parent, a real one: a clean-your-room, call-your-dad, set-the-table mommy.

My son is five years old and his love is blind. He’s sheltered from the harsh reality that some adults don’t grow up, that instead they develop degenerative brain disorders, have relapses, and move back in with their parents.
— Relinquishing My Custody to My Son's Father Was an Act of Love, Not Abandonment, XOJane
In reality, kitchens are quiet places. Love too is in the soft notes; the quivers before the crescendos. My last serious relationship was also with a chef. Side by side, at 4 a.m., we used to unload produce, our shivering bodies wrapped into quilted jackets as we organized the walk-in freezer. I’d longed for a kitchen by that point. I’d tried to assemble my life from the scraps. I missed the steady rhythm of morning prep, the calm before dinner service opened. Even and measured, my ex would check boxes as they arrived, his discerning eyes catching accidents before they happened.

In the same vein of wisdom, he’d cut our relationship short before our chemistry simmered into an outrageous boil. Late on a winter afternoon, he let me into his apartment to collect my things. Gathering an armful of abandoned workout gear, I smelled a jacket’s wrist, where I’d spilled vinegar. In a moment of nostalgia, I wished it had stained. On my way out the door, his hand brushed my waist, pulling me back. “You know what I hate most about this?” he sighed, eyes glistening, “On your good days, everything was perfect.”
— I'm a "Psycho Ex-Girlfriend" According to My Exes, But That's Only Half the Story, XOJane
Right now, my OkCupid is for display only, a lingering example of another loss due to my mental health. I enjoy browsing through potential matches, but the people I see are just as much a fantasy as my previous post-code envy.

There is someone I see casually right now, but the view from his room opens to a parking space. I’m perfectly clear on where we stand. Each time I visit, I ask about his recent dating encounters, keeping my expectations level with reality. Last week, I sat on his bed, picking at the frays on the patchwork quilt given to him by his ex-girlfriend. Each square doesn’t quite match, selected from the scraps on her sewing room floor. Somehow, by balancing mismatched color and pattern, she’s created a comforting blanket that’s otherwise endearing. This is how I hope I will fall in love someday.

Someone will see my collection of otherwise scattered qualities and weave them into a coherent whole. Someone will be willing to forgive the ugly patterns. Until then, I’m happy to sleep alone, at least, most of the time.
— I Slept with Men Who Owned Expensive Real Estate, Because I Wanted The Lives They Had, XOJane