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March 09, 2011 - Image 11

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-03-09

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4

Wednesday, 2011 The Statement 3B
Jn the mornings, I must traipse to the bathroom. There
I'll be, every morning, laboriously shaving my legs or
curling my eyelashes. I have twenty minutes to become
in control and composed. I must be judicious about my flaws-
in order to protect myself. I have learned by heart the num-
ber of freckles on my cheeks and the precise angle created by
my protruding left thigh and it seems like I have been staringa;
at my reflection in the mirror since I graduated college and
couldn't find a job. The way my armpit skin folds into itself is
beginning to make me anxious. The negative space between
my legs has decreased, and so has my self-worth.
I am a freelance model, now. Mostly, I do nail-polish
1dvertisements. There is a lot of pressure in my industry,
especially due to my extensive interaction with the leg mod-
els because they are so beautiful. Yesterday, after a photo-
shoot, I encountered Linda Holtz putting on her lipstick in
the pink bubble-wrap bathroom. I called it that because the
tiles had these sort-of three-dimensional rounded edges like
they were full of something even though I knew they were
full of nothing.
Linda was pouting in the mirror, not paying attention
to me and the water was running. I was staring at her legs.
Her knees looked like Salvador Dali's elephants' but maybe
slightly more bony, if you can believe that. They tapered off
into miniature tree trunks with vines and veins. The way
things worked was, our photographer, Michael, took sepa-
rate pictures of my foot and her leg. She is known for her legs, n
and I have been told my toes look like dainty cream-puffs.
Afterward, the photos go through a process that is called, in
technical terms, "editing." Mine and Linda's collaborative
efforts sell a lot of nail-polish.
I am a happy, well-adjusted person, according to my thera-
pist, who told me a few weeks ago, and last week, that it is
completely normal, and even desirable, to cry every day. I find
myself following her advice often. My parents' insurance will
run out in a few months when I turn twenty-six, so I might as
well take advantage of the opportunity for self-improvement
afforded by my tendancy to impulsively binge and violently
purge. This is the second Ph.D. named Kelley who has told
me what my feelings mean. I resent her less than the first Dr.
Kelley, mostly because I don't have as much energy to fight
her. I am too busy being photographed. Did I mention, last
week my feet appeared in Teen Vogue?
The anger that fueled my vigorous protests against being
normal in my late teens and early twenties has dissolved and
dissipated, so that now my anger is nothing more than a vile
odor lingering above my head. My head has not become qui-
eter, but I never talk back anymore. I can't muster anger. It's
much easier to contain things. But actually, yesterday after-
noon, Melvin and I had a argument that sent me fleeing to
the bathroom.
Outside the bathroom, Melvin was inevitably sitting and
waiting. He rested in his reclining chair as I peered at my
reflection in the mirror behind a closed door, pulling at the
skin on my stomach, turning sideways and sucking in, step-
ping on and off the forbidden scale that I keep hidden under
piles of towels and empty Lysol bottles in the linen closet
Melvin was finishing a crossword puzzle. "We have to go,
Diana, are you almost done in there?" He tapped his pencil
rhythmically, furrowing his brow and looking out the win-
dow as the son crouched behind a tree that was embarrassed
by his mis-directed attention.
Then I wretched, wanting to rid myself of anything and
everything. And when it was finished, my self-loathing, my
scream for help, I stood. And before any waves of anger
broke, there was be relief because any bad feelings had been
eradicated and flushed away. But then National Public Radio
sounded from the other room as I applied soap to my middle
and pointer fingers, scrubbing harshly as "All Things Con-
sidered" buzzed from where Melvin sat so I officially knew
that it was 6:30 and we were going to be late for my public-
ity event. You'd be surprised how quickly people can iden-
tify me based solely on my toenail shape. I swallowed my
bubbling anger, gargled, and spit contempt down the silver
drain. It's more appropriate to keep things in, I thought. A
two-inch piece of wood separated the two of us, and it might
as well have been seventy-four miles of barren land because B A+ ,
he really didn't want to know what was going on behind the
bathroom door. It's a personal thing, he might think, I really
don't have any business being interested.

._

E J quit you three or four days after I quit smoking for
e rV y h ~~ n Zthe first, last, and ill-advised time. The two are highly
interrelated. Another three or four days and I'm stand-
ing in your kitchen in an ethereal haze of grey and blue,
watching reruns of a vampire show on HBO. You come
W .a s around the corner into the room, open up the fridge, and
dig out a bottle of water. I crawl to your back, wrapping my
arms lazily around your thin frame, and, peering over your
*a i ushoulder, suppress a smile at the bachelor pad mix of condi-
Bea utif U Iape legyufr;e ooigmpyn saepan
ments, a half-gallqn tub of salsa, and two slightly bruised
log away your predilection toward fast food. These things
should not attract me, much less hold me here.

t.
U,.

JED MOCH/Dally

ana
Nothing
-Hurt

Three or four hours later and the navy blue midnight drips
across your pale body where it lies draped across the bed.
The light swells and fades, ebbing like the Adriatic, crash-
ing over hollowed out places, pointing out traces of ribs, a
thin, oval belly-button, two hips, and all the human body
parts twisted out of place by you. You leave and return with
one of the bruised, crimson apples, rolling it across my col-
larbone, down the valley of my stomach, before pulling it to
baby's lips and biting in. I memorize the blank, white walls
of your room, empty but for a bed with thin, white sheets,
a table lamp, and an analog clock. While you were gone, I
drew an infinity sign over the twelve on your clock. I don't
think it will wash off.

a

*

.- 4

By Andrea Taverna We're trapped in the amber only inches apart.

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