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Monday, February 21, 2011

afternoon walk

“Oh, dear, you are too cute.”  There was a smile in his voice as he shook his  head and gave my knee an affectionate pat.  I looked down at my hands lying limply in my lap, the fat on my thighs spread gelatinously across the seat.  My knees were soft lumps gently straining against the worn fabric of size-zero skinny jeans that I’d worn so often the elastic had stretched to accommodate my now size-three ass.  I could picture my flesh, pale and riddled with cellulite, and there before me were my hands, swollen and pink, plump as balloons.  His hand gripped the clutch, strong and full of bones or tendons or veins.  I crossed my arms across my stomach, sucking in reflexively, and turned to squint out the window at life passing by.  Pedestrians with strollers or shopping bags or small dogs on leashes.  Sunlight flashing between tree branches and tall buildings, illuminating the specks of dust that suddenly floated through the air.  My hands were hot, my mouth was dry, I could feel the wrinkles forming in my forehead already.  “I think I have a migraine,” I said.  I leaned against the door and looked everywhere except at my reflection in the side mirror, because I knew already that my pores would be caked with powder and shining with grease or sweat, my creased lips would be blurred with melting lipstick, and my eyelashes would be stuck together, garishly black, beneath waxy arches too obviously drawn on my face with brow pencil.  “You wanna stop for coffee?”  I wanted a cold compress and a shower; I wanted to be anywhere but the passenger seat of an overheated sedan with no air conditioning and pictures of his exgirlfriend still floating around in the back along with his sweaty soccer clothes and Spanish homework.  He was babbling about economics, political science, the results of his midterm –  When we stepped out onto the pavement, onto the curb, over the dry tree roots reaching down into soft piles of soil red and flaky, white stars began to burst in the back of my eyelids.  There was a feeling in my throat of bile, but if he noticed my silence, it made no difference, for I had nothing important to say.  His hand grasped mine and we walked.

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