Good Girls

June 15, 2010
Every morning, wordlessly and routinely, Sandra ties my apron strings. She’s a good girl, with eyes big enough to take in the whole world. The men can tell and they speak to her gently, never holding her gaze for too long. No one wants to be the reason she stays here. One casualty will have to be enough. I want to warn her, to tell her that there will come a day when she will declare herself comfortably numb, fade into dimly-lit hotel rooms and desaturated colors. She will learn to paint herself up in crusted Maybelline and half a pack of Newports, and grow her hair out so long it kinks only at the ends. She will stay in this place with a name no one’s ever heard, and grow smaller. She will learn to hide between satin sheets, brown skin cradled awkwardly between the crimson, and watch dusk-lit novellas unfold from her balcony. She will learn to count her steps.

A whole life from the observant position, third person narrator, she will vaguely remember her former self. Hips made empty by time and distance, drooping eyelids, a growing need to be just a little bit blinder. The men will stare too long, and she will learn to wish her beauty would wash off like sweat.

It always rains here. Fogged up, cloudy, wind chill and the windows never dry. They say the carpet was beige before my feet ever hit it, but I say it’s been brown ever since. My hips keep getting wider but I still fit through the door. We still have cigarettes in our vending machine.

Twelve o’clock noon and it sounds like lunchtime. The men smile even as the tables fill and I can’t seem to get anywhere fast enough. They stare too long but their eyes are soft and I don’t mind like I used to. Precarious stacks of unmatched dinnerware, multi-colored toothpick frills, and little kids with chocolate milk moustaches line the edges of my days. This is home now.

The man with the red jacket always tips too much. I watch him take the money delicately out of his neatly-kept wallet and I never really feel like it’s mine. He has dark, curly hair and a rough face with soft features, and I’ve never seen him more than smile at anyone. Chicken salad on wheat, potato chips instead of fries, iced tea with one sugar. I’ve never asked his name.

You can see the shopping plaza out the main window: Cricket’s Hallmark, The A&P, Rite Aid, and a sleazy adult film store. I do my shopping one town over.

The days come easy, and my cigarettes still taste the same. My nails change colors as the weeks go by but not much else does. The drinks go down easy but they never come up that way. I’m always freezing; these ten bony fingers, worn raw by soap suds and dish water, grasping awkwardly at everything they hold. Sandra sees the dishtowel hanging limply from my hands and takes it from me gently, finishing drying the dishes by herself. I want to tell her that there will come a time when she will learn to dance with shadows, wishing for ways to become unbroken and finding only infomercials and leftovers. Thunderstorm on the other side of her window, she will end her days falling into an empty bed. Nostalgic and completely ungrounded, she will learn to ache for anything but sleep.

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This article has 9 comments. Post your own now!

ValenciaJett said...
Jun. 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm
I really really like this. At first I was wondering "where it was going" but then remembered how much I hate when peer editors and teachers ask me the same question! They brainwashed me temporarily. This is exactly the kind of thing I love to write, the sort of pieces that you could toss into a novel and it would make it beautiful.
geekischic468 replied...
Jun. 21, 2010 at 10:01 pm
You understood this! I wanted it to sound like it was just a tiny little piece of someone's life story; just a nice little narrative with no beginning or ending. Thanks for noticing!
roxymutt said...
Jun. 19, 2010 at 10:24 am
 this is amazing....where did you even get the idea for this story! i was great! i loved the details the emotions the different perspectives and all joined with a great word choice! i applaud your work!
EmilyFrances said...
Jun. 18, 2010 at 9:43 pm
This is completely brilliant. I really enjoyed your choice of words, it paints a very vivid picture! Excellent work!!
geekischic468 replied...
Jun. 19, 2010 at 9:53 am
Thanks again! I'm really feeling the love with this piece!!
nomgee said...
Jun. 18, 2010 at 4:32 pm
Wow, I love it! You can feel the emotion when you read it, and the description is beautiful.
geekischic468 replied...
Jun. 18, 2010 at 8:43 pm
Why thank you! <3
LilyC1227 said...
Jun. 18, 2010 at 8:33 am
This is absolutely beautiful. I love the sweetness and sadness behind it all, all the details. Wow, keep it up
geekischic468 replied...
Jun. 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm
Thank you so much! I usually stick to personal essays, so I didn't know how trying fiction was going to go, but I'm so glad you liked it!
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