As Restless as We Are

This is just a tiny bit of fluff that popped into my head after hearing (and I so wish I hadn’t had to hear it) 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins.

********************************************************************************

The splintered laminate dug into her palms as she leaned over the sink, studying the void that stared back at her.

What was she doing here? And where was it all supposed to take her?

“I’m off to class, now,” her roommate said from the other side of the dark, twin bureaus that divided the room. “You going today?”

She turned towards her roomate’s voice. The heavy fire door slammed against the metal jamb before she could form an answer. She looked back at her reflection. She studied the absurd roundness of her cheeks in the mirror. Apple cheeks on crank. Campbell Soup Kid Cheeks. She’d never be skinny. Too much Mountain People in her for that. What was it her great-grandmother had called her mother?

Fleshy.

A compliment.

Sturdy.

Like a mule.

The reflection’s eyebrow lifted. So, that took care of the supermodel option. Probably the actress, too. So–what? She knew full well what her parents wanted. Nurse. Teacher. Government worker. The first two with easier schedules for a tired pregnant woman, ones quickly enough discarded when the proper man, proper house, proper number of spawn came along. Disposable jobs. The mirrored mouth twitched in something bordering amusement. The latter option would provide great retirement benefits.

A sturdy job.

A good job.

A fleshy job.

She snorted, pushed away from the vanity, and snapped off the light.

**********

Twin bulbs flicker into illumination. She leans against another vanity. Although it is in another place entirely, the mood is unsettlingly similar. She leans forward, pulled into the bluish glow like a bug to a zapper. She studies the face before her. She had been right. She never got skinny. As for her cheeks, well, the advancing of time had neither sagged nor diminished them. Still like a hamster with a face full of seed. Forever a Campbell’s Kid. As she gazes at the minute lines time has danced across the features she once thought unchangeable, she thinks back to that day. They had wanted an answer. She hadn’t had one to give.

Who was she going to be?

What was she supposed to have said to that?

Whatever’s on page forty-one of the Course Catalog?

You pick for me, because I haven’t a fucking clue?

A bloom of teeth and gums splits the face in the mirror.

The answer to her roomate’s question had been–had always been– “No.”

About Avery

I am a roller derbying, dark fantasy author. This blog chronicles my adventures in life, writing and skating. View all posts by Avery

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