Tuesday, July 19

Short Short Story

A few people in my life have been very lovingly prodding me and telling me I need to write more. And after sighing and grumbling and having 20 excuses as to why I'm not, I agree, "But no, you're right, I do need to write more."
So I'm going to try to get back into it with an exercise. Once a week I'm going to write a piece of flash fiction just to keep those cogs turning. Some of them are going to be bad, and I'm sorry. I usually do this with a photograph or painting in mind, so I'll post those if they exist along with the story. Last night at 2 a.m., a little drunk and a little sleepy, I remembered this painting wrong and wrote a story about it.

She watched herself in the mirror as she stepped into the gown, her feet pointed delicately as they entered the dress's crater, the impact surrounded by a wall of soft white tulle and silk Georgette. She thought how strange her legs looked surrounded by such a beautiful, crumpled thing, how they were normally stuffed into masculine shoes and cotton socks and clothes that were designed to be waterproof or sunproof or to wick away sweat.
Without removing her feet from the crater or disturbing the piled up dress, she sank backward on the chair, her legs outstretched in front of her. The apricot colored tan darkened upward from her pale feet, peachy pink at the knees and almost orange on her thighs. Her freckles were darker there, too, until all color was cut off at the line where her favorite shorts fell (she had three pairs, all the same style with the big cargo pockets and belt loops sturdy enough to clip several carabiners onto) and, abruptly, all sign of summer and sunshine and the hours and hours of hiking she did every day washed into cool, pale white skin, skin the color of the moon. She thought about her sister's insisting that she get a full-body tan before the wedding, "Just to even things out."
"He knows my tan in uneven, Jennifer."
"Julia," her mother had said, still uncomfortable with her oldest daughter living with a man she had not yet married despite growing accustomed to all the other disappointments she had brought home over the years: her unladylike clothes, her science degree, a Protestant-raised fiance who, when asked about his religious upbringing, blurted out that he was an Atheist.
"You only get one wedding, Julia. Don't you want to be beautiful?"
She thought about the Lunar terminator, how the darkness on her legs could only be a shadow, the tight bun in her hair an illusion, the powder on her face a trick of the light, when her mother knocked on the door.
"How's it going? Do you need any help?"
"I'm fine."
"We've got a few more out here for you to try on," and then, her face turned away from the door, her voice in a low whisper, "really, it's like she has an aversion to beauty."

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