When she was a girl, adults said, “she’s gon’ be a heartbreaker.” She got her body early, carried her weight evenly distributed over her breasts, belly, behind, and thighs. She acquired a taste for low cut blouses and red lipstick. She wanted the older ones, the men who fondled her behind locked doors over in the next county. They drove her to shopping malls and dropped her off, leaving friendly public kisses on her cheek, despite the rubbing and thrusting they had done only hours or sometimes minutes before. Most of them vanished after the first time. Some of them came back for more. The repeat offenders were needy. They talked about their fantasies and were explicit about their needs: sloppy, wet blowjobs and foreplay. If she liked them, she breathed heavy in their ears, “You’re amazing. Oh god, I never had it like that before.” The ugly ones sought her out to prove to themselves that they could get a pretty girl. She never wanted them, but she did it anyway.
One day she meets a guy. He is dark-eyed and broad shouldered. He is loose-jointed, the kind of man who looks like he can make her believe the things she wants to breathe into his ears. She giggles. She rubs his leg. He doesn’t ask about her favorite color. He talks about himself. He doesn’t want to know where she’s from or how many people she’s been with. He talks about himself. He lays her down on his bed. On the bed of his truck. In his laundry room. On the grass in the park. He lays other women down in his bed. On his truck bed. In his laundry room. He won’t let her stay the night or stop over without calling first. She cries. She gives him things. She cries some more. He stops answering her phone calls. She wants him. He can’t remember her last name.
One day she meets another guy. He wants to know your favorite color but not hers. He wants to know where you are from and how many men you’ve been with, but he doesn’t want to know these things about her. She leaves her top three buttons undone. She rubs his leg. He says no. He says I can’t. He says stop it, please. The one truth he won’t say is that she is a used doll, that there are multiple sets of fingerprints permanently embedded in her skin.
Years later, and she doesn’t get many whistles when she walks down Memorial Drive. She has shed the tight skin of her girlhood. She wears baggy dresses. She wears jeans that cover the stretch marks behind her knees. When she walks, everything sways back and forth, bobs up and down. Her flesh hangs loosely on the bones, like a rumpled curtain on a broken rod.
She wants to be a wearer of red lipsticks again. She wants to be a smooth-gammed girl strutting in red heels.
Monic Ductan is a fiction writer and poet from rural Georgia. She has an undergrad degree in Creative Writing from Georgia State University. Her stories and poems have appeared in The Blue Moon Literary and Art Review, Black Magnolias Journal, Stone Highway Review, and Montucky Review. Her work is forthcoming in Sleet Magazine and Crab Creek Review.