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“I’m not afraid,” I tell her, “and you shouldn’t be, either.” Rachel doesn’t answer me because she knows I’m lying. She knows I’m afraid of my own body. I take another drink from the bottle to keep myself from looking at her, but it doesn’t keep me from remembering that Rachel is right. Sometimes at night I stare at myself in the mirror. It’s easy to get lost in the way my skin curves against the bones in my body. I notice a red blemish below my cheekbone and trace it with the nail of my index finger. I study the way my eyes twitch when I look from my face to my body. An ache forms low in my stomach when I think of the day I began to truly notice my face; the same day I thought I needed to wear makeup before letting my face grow to what it needed to be. The day I rushed a process that should’ve been given room to breathe. Sometimes at night, I wish I could go back to that day. To find the girl who sat on the bathroom floor and cried because she didn’t understand why her body mattered more than her face, why her sexual appeal mattered more than her feelings. I lay awake and think about this day, wonder how I could have changed the outcome, but all I’m left with is myself in the mirror, me wondering how I can make a zit disappear by sunrise. I click my pen once, twice, three times, when Lane walks up to the counter. His hands are covered in dried up paint, and his jeans are marked up with dried dirt and grass. I almost want to tell him to leave the place, but his smile keeps me from breaking my own. “Hey there.” My heart beats faster. Lane knows how distracting it is for me to see him at work, but I also know I will never tell him leave. “Afternoon.” “What can I get started for you?” He looks up at the menu for a moment before looking back at me. He winks, hands me a five, and walks over to where he sits every day. I ring up the order and grab his normal Thai tea, then set it wordlessly on the table in front of him. He stays until we close. Around five in the afternoon, another man walks in. I’ve seen him a million times over, taken his order since my first day, but today is different. Today he doesn’t see anyone else. “How you doin’ today?” he asks me. “Pretty good. Just another day.” “How’s the boyfriend? Lane, is it?” I smile and take his twenty, already knowing what drink to get him. My smile is forced because I don’t like to talk about my personal life in front of people I don’t know. I just nod and hand him back his change. I look past my regular and see Lane staring at his computer, knowing he hears every word. “We’re good.”

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JACOBSON

Profile for Oakland Arts Review

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4  

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4  

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