She was a Tuesday off from work – something strange and new, with the wits of a woman half as social and a smile you could frame. She talked a lot, and though I acknowledged a basic level of intellect in her, at the same time she never really said much. Growing as an ugly duckling never bothered her or resulted in the naive and paranoid self-conscious need for constant reassurance you tend to see in ‘late bloomers,’ but the power of a wan face did corrupt. Somewhere down the line she stopped trying and began rehearsing conversation, I imagine at the age when her beauty blossomed and suddenly attention came with any brief glance or simple smile. She must have made a promise to save her thoughts, those precious whims, for some prince or therapist more deserving than the corner admirers and weekend sweven. But the exception never came, and soon strategy turned to personality, until she only knew to be herself at intervals. Or perhaps she was hurt like none before her, just like everyone else, and what’s left of her innocence takes a misguided refuge behind a careful facade of bad mascara and open-eyed kisses.
Ultimately she was just a bitch, a fact I was more than well aware of but never held against her. I was unconcerned but sorry, then dismissed the thought to focus on her thin lips and smooth cheeks. I’d never seen a train wreck that looked so good.