The Pretty Girl

The PrettyGirl

The first time I saw the pretty girl she was sitting on a counter in my kitchen, one in a house full of party-goers. She had the large green eyes of an anime heroine and the porcelain skin of a geisha, but she was overweight.

“I had to break up with my last boyfriend,” she was saying, “he was so inexperienced.” The young man she addressed just stared, transfixed by her perfections. She knew all about this. As my eye followed her around the house that night, I saw this scene repeated several times. Whatever she said, men found hypnotic. She didn’t talk to women.

The next time I saw the pretty girl, she was model-thin. I complimented her.

“That was just temporary,” she said, “an aberration. This is my usual weight.”

I said something banal, but I knew that she liked me to like her in her present body, and that I was supposed to erase from mind that first image of her. So I did. She had the small, lithe body of a teenager, though she was 28. She was perhaps 5’2″ and 110 pounds then, which emphasized her big eyes and the long black hair that reached the small of her back. She had the walk and posture of a girl who had taken modeling lessons, but she forgot sometimes and was clumsily awkward.

Another party, another house. She stepped outside for a cigarette, throwing me a glance over her shoulder. I followed her out into the cold. We lit up — Marlboro Lights were to be our brand — and talked in that circle of small but intimate heat that smoking creates. She said she was a writer, and this job was just temporary, until she moved moved to the City. I said I had lived there for two years, and her eyes danced. They were magical eyes, and she knew it.

from Boy Wonder, by Wm. Marling

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