Culture and Society
You had the face of a man who couldn’t help understanding everything — all of it, the whole pathetic, tragic human thing — and that draws people in. To me you were a magnet of kindness.
I used to feel like an imposter because of my breasts, because even before I got pregnant they were pretty spectacular, and it’s made me wonder if I’ve ever actually earned anything, or if all the jobs and awards and opportunities I’ve gotten, really, have just been handed to me because of fat deposits that would be disgusting if they were placed a few inches lower, on my belly.
This man could have been my rapist, but he looked too nice. He had thick, wavy hair, like a movie star from the seventies, and a jawbone that could take out your eye. I hung my feet over the edge of the roof and let myself slide into his arms.
We experience two kinds of violence: the violence done to us by others, and the violence we do to ourselves. The latter hurts more, because it’s of our own making.
We didn’t know what it was to be desired. We didn’t know what girls’ bodies were supposed to look like. We just knew it was better for us if nothing stuck out too far.
It’s like the French Revolution. One by one, prominent men are wheeled out to the guillotine and dispatched. Of course, the present-day “deaths” are metaphorical. Garrison Keillor is still alive, just out of sight. But “Garrison Keillor,” the charming, folksy, self-deprecating Midwestern humorist, is dead.
Gingerly, creeping, my mother drives her “safe” back way home, winding through the subdivisions bordering downtown Orlando, Florida. The little truck doesn’t have air conditioning. I stretch my arm out the window as if I might be able to feel the Spanish moss hanging from the trees like witch hair.
I got the call in the middle of the night. I dressed fast, expecting Parker to wake up any minute and make me come back, but he didn’t. It was summer, and the air felt warm even at 2 AM. I made a cup of coffee and walked down the long driveway to the road. Julie was giving me a ride, but she’d never been to my house before. Nobody ever came there to see me.