Home > 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl(7)

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl(7)
Mona Awad

“We’re done?” I ask.

“Yup.”

“How does it look? Does it look okay?”

“Go see,” she says, gesturing toward the mirror beside her, but I don’t want to go see. I want to hang on to my idea of what I look like, which is like China. Even though we only started hanging out recently, China tells me all the time that she sees me as like a sister to her and I tell her some people say we even look like sisters. “What people?” China says. I think of the woman who ripped our tickets at the Warhol exhibit. This coat check girl at Death who doesn’t work there anymore. That one waitress in the old lady tearoom we sometimes go to when we skip Lit or Government. That waitress is always asking us, “Are you two sisters?” And China tells her, “No. We’re not. We’re definitely not.” Then she looks at me and says, “You’re beautiful all on your own.” I smile whenever she says this, even though I feel like she’s marooned me on some desert island, taking away with her the only boat. I want to tell her, I don’t want to be beautiful all on my own, I don’t. But I just say nothing. Sometimes I say thanks.

I stare at China from the toilet where I’m still sitting.

“Does it look bad?”

“Oh my god, here,” she says, handing me a small lipstick compact of red silk patterned with dragons.

I look at the one eye I can see in her smudged little rectangular mirror. “Oh my god,” I whisper.

“What?”

“It looks amazing.”

“Oh, good,” she says, continuing to apply lipstick with the pad of her index finger. “I actually fucked it up a lot because you wouldn’t stop moving.”

I move the mirror around so I can see the other eye, then the other again.

“I can’t believe it.” I look over at her. “Thanks so much for this. Seriously.”

She shrugs, shoves the kit in her black canvas satchel covered with Wite-Out skulls. “It’s nothing,” she says. “Seriously, it’s just eyes.”

• • •

Now we’re lying here in my bedroom because after the smoky eyes and the Drink Me, we didn’t feel like English. We’re staring up at my Bettie Page poster, the one where Bettie is all tied up in a chair wearing super-super high heels. I’m thinking about my eyes and how I’m wearing my tights as a top. China showed me how to do this. You just rip a hole in the crotch of your fishnets and stick your head through it, then you slide your arms where the legs are supposed to be. She says you can do this with any pair of tights, but it’s best with fishnets because you can poke your fingers through the mesh.

With my smoky eyes and my fishnet tight top, I must say I’m feeling pretty hot, almost.

I turn to her lying on the bed beside me. “How does it look?”

“Hot,” she says, frowning at a cuticle. “Go see.”

“I’ll wait,” I say. “I’ll wait till later. I don’t look fat, do I?”

And China says, “Stop it,” like she’s genuinely pissed. She says she wishes she had my hair, what a head of it I have, so good smelling for a smoker. Also my ankles. Look at those ankles. She’d cut them off right now. My hair and my ankles. Right now. Give her a knife. China has hair like Annie Lennox’s. We weren’t on speaking terms when she wore it like Joey Ramone. We were never friends at Holy Trinity, but I’d see her in the halls, before she dropped out. Spiders dangling from her ears. Mel called her a poseur, said she wasn’t really into the music, she just had the look. Tall and rail thin and pale as death. The kind of girl who looks like she should be walking down a dirt road in a music video, one where the sky is gray and the earth is gray and there’s nothing for miles but this girl walking in a torn dress toward you, dark lips curving into a smile, her hands splayed open at her sides like Christ’s. It was only after I dropped out of Holy Trinity and switched to this alternative school that we became friends. Locked eyes in Literature, which is taught by this guy who looks like Eraserhead and lets you do projects on things like just reading Hesse.

“Do you think Batstone’s mad at us for skipping?” I ask her.

“He doesn’t care. Anyway, I hardly ever skip these days. I need to finish and get the hell out of here.” She really does. China was two years ahead of me at Holy Trinity, so she must be, like, twenty. “So long as we don’t miss next week,” she says.

We have a presentation on Haiti next week.

“You can’t shaft me next week,” she says.

“I won’t.” It’s true, I skip a lot. There are stretches of days when I just can’t bring myself to leave my room, to be seen.

She grabs a Matinée 100 from my purse. She’s in no hurry to go home, she says, because she’s trying to avoid Montana. She asks me to show her the trick I have of lighting a match with one hand. It’s easy—you just fold it over the edge of the matchbook and press it down with your thumb just below the strike pad. But I’m happy to have something she wants me to show her.

Then she says, “So tell me about this Internet guy. What’s his name?”

I tell her a bit about Blake. How I met him on AOL a few weeks ago. How his handle is The Cosmic Dancer, which is a reference to Shiva, the Hindu deity. I don’t tell her that he’s forty-seven and a quadriplegic but I do tell her that he lives near L.A. and that he’s a fan of Goth/industrial/dark wave and the films of Lynch and von Trier. I tell her how we talk about what movies we would be in if we could live in any movie (for me Prospero’s Books or Exotica; for him Naked or Nowhere), and what would be the soundtrack for the movie of our lives, and what it would be like to live in Duras’s Vietnam. I don’t tell her that lately we’ve been talking more and more about how I’m going to be the miracle for getting him hard again. Or how he’ll get stoned and tell me all about his elaborate lucid dreams of us fucking in India. Where the mere sight of me in a sari or sometimes it’s just a necklace of bones and teeth gets him so hard that he gets up out of his wheelchair and just walks toward me and we fuck on a flower-strewn altar with all these little Indian women watching. I tell her again that he’s been asking for a full-body shot and that I’ve been putting him off. But I know from past experience that I won’t be able to put him off forever, that it’s only a matter of time.

Recommended
» Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) read online
» Forever Too Far (Rosemary Beach #3) read online
» Breaking Dawn (Twilight #4) read online
» I Am Legend read online
» Never Too Far (Rosemary Beach #2) read online
» New Moon (Twilight #2) read online
» Insurgent (Divergent #2) read online
» Twilight (Twilight #1) read online
» Allegiant (Divergent #3) read online
» Divergent (Divergent #1) read online
» The Darkest Seduction (Lords of the Underwo read online
» Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) read online
» Eclipse (Twilight #3) read online
» Easy (Contours of the Heart #1) read online
» Breakable (Contours of the Heart #2) read online
» Midnight Sun (Twilight #1.5) read online
» The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) read online
» Rush Too Far (Rosemary Beach #4) read online
» Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) read online
» Fallen Too Far (Rosemary Beach #1) read online
» Unseen Messages read online