Short Stories

Body Image

My friend Sonia had pair after pair of tinted contacts, and when people said her eyes were such a pretty green or blue or hazel she would just say thank you. They would say, what an unusual shade, and she would glance at me and smile, because I knew what color her eyes really were: brown, a lighter shade than mine.

Sonia’s eyes were blue the time she took off her clothes at one of my parties our senior year in college. I remember, because they were such a bright blue they looked neon, and she lost one of her contacts somehow so that one eye was a shocking blue and the other was a very light brown. It made her look demented. Everyone at the party seemed to have something wrong with them. It was my apartment, but I didn’t seem to know anybody there. At one point a strange girl came up to me and bit me on the arm. I jumped away from her. “What are you doing?” I asked.

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Strip Poker

David lives on Mud Island. At night when I am there we sit out on the front steps and look at the other people sitting on their front steps. He smokes a cigarette while I play imaginary piano keys on his thigh. Fur Elise, the right hand part, which is all I remember from five years of lessons. The street has the cheerful misty look that comes from bright artificial lights at night, and sometimes a breeze shifts the air that sits wet and heavy on my skin. Houses there remind me of childhood beach vacations, the temporary homes I remember seeing squinty-eyed through the car window at night as we pulled, finally, into town. A deep, tired sigh of arrival. The buildings look lightweight, wood painted in pale yellow. The windows angled and huge, and inside ceiling fans, spider plants with their tangled shoots dangling wantonly from the high hanging pots. I can’t help but feel that there no one ever has to vacuum, that the dusting and the polishing and the washing is done with precision by unseen maids.

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