Thursday, May 19, 2011


Nora:  I follow Gina into her room, and then freeze.  Maybe my mouth hangs open for a moment, but I quickly shut it and continue into the room – pretending I’m not humbled, awed, diminished? By the hundreds of pictures of supermodels.  Cut-outs from magazines paper the walls.  The dresser drawers.  The closet door.  Even the headboard of Gina’s bed is a rainbow of eyes, faces, bodies.
I guess I didn’t hide my surprise so well, because Gina says, “My mom and I cut out pictures of women we admire.  They’re for inspiration.”
For what?  I wonder.
As if she read my mind, Gina says, “It’s supposed to help me get thin.”
“Uh huh,” I say.  So lame. 
Gina crosses the floor, her corduroys swishing because of her thighs rubbing together.  That’s exactly why I never wear corduroys.  But if Gina is embarrassed, it doesn’t show.  Still, after patting down a curled corner on one of the pictures, she turns to me – a long way from supermodel thin.  A long way from any kind of thin – and she says, “I don’t think it’s working, and I don’t know why.  Don’t tell anyone, but I’m bulimic.”
I didn’t think I could feel any smaller than I already do, with all those beautiful eyes staring at me.  But I do feel smaller, less than.  And something burns in me – jealousy.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Juliet:  I will never take off these socks, I think to myself.
I will take them off, but I will never wash them, I’ll save them, the socks that are filling with dirt as I press my heels into the side of the hill, off the path that leads away from Griffith Park Observatory.
There are people just above us, looking out at the lights of L.A. in the distance I hope, and not down into the dark hillside to the dark shadows which are Raif and I.  This is not how I expected my first time to be.
My mouth is raw from kissing Raif, kissing that started outside the theater, as soon as we got into his car.  Kissing that almost got out of control in the parking lot outside Starbucks, then turned tender inside, where we sat in front of the fake fireplace and ignored our coffee.
I have to pee, I think.  My underwear, down around my ankles, is probably getting full of dirt.  This hurts.  I didn’t expect it to hurt so much.  I’m sliding a little down the hill and rocks are scraping my butt.  We didn’t go to Raif’s apartment because he said he wanted to take me someplace special.  This is special.
Stop complaining, Juliet, this is special.  We’re under the stars.  We’re in love.  I love Raif and he loves me.  How long is this supposed to last?
That’s not what you’re supposed to be thinking, Juliet.  You’re not supposed to be thinking at all!
This is so awesome!  I’m having sex!  Me, Juliet, Never Been Kissed Juliet. 
And Raif is not old, like Michael said.  He’s twenty-four. 
Raif grunts softly, then sighs, long and deep.  Rolling to the side, staying on the flannel shirt he laid down for us, he pulls me close.  He sucks on my neck, and I realize too late that he’s giving me a hickey, which I know I should be happy about because it means I’m his, and it’s not like he’s branding me like a cow, it’s not. 
Only now I have to tell my mother.
I worry too much.
“Your skin is so soft,” Raif whispers.
“My boot!” I say as I grab for it, rolling down the hill. 
Raif scrambles down a few feet after it.  His ass is pale in the moonlight.  Skinny, the knobs of his pelvis show when he turns over.  Like me, like me!
“I think I love you,” I say, my fingers holding tightly to my boots, nervous fingers because I never said that to a guy before.
Raif smiles and kisses me.  Crushing my Doc Martens between us, and we start to slide again.  My underwear is sticky and cold, and dirty and gross.  Raif didn’t say he loved me back, but that’s okay.  Of course he loves me, or we wouldn’t be here.
“I have to pee,” I say, giggling.