June 6, 2012 § 5 Comments
She looks like superwoman. She could be wearing a tight blue and red spandex outfit, black painted on boots, blue cape blowing in the wind like her hair. I see her posing, looking off to the horizon. She just might be superwoman.
She is wearing a turquoise dress, a wrap around that hugs her breasts and buttocks. The kind of dress that Fred likes. The kind he wishes I would wear but that I wouldn’t fill out quite as well. Maybe her upper arms are just a tad bit flabby. A tiny—okay barely there—roll around her waist line. Her heels are high and spikey, another plus on Fred’s list. She is tall or maybe it is her shoes that make her look tall. She has good posture.
Her hair is long and black, probably dyed. It flows down to her shoulders perfectly. It is parted on the side. She has a salon tan, maybe two or three weeks’ worth. Her teeth are bleached white. Her eyes are large and white and bright. She has a botox forehead and although her face has no wrinkles, I don’t think she has gone the surgery route. Maybe something but not that. Her neck looks a few years older than her face. She doesn’t have a lot of expression other than a perpetual smile.
Fred describes her to a friend. You know, the woman in the blue dress. Like everyone will know exactly who that is.
I’m finishing my salmon when the MC tells everyone to find that special someone for the next song. She must have been his special someone at that moment, or maybe he didn’t hear the instructions. When I look up they’re both on the dance floor. I see him put the flat of his hand on her back, leading her towards the dance floor. She looks reluctant. They don’t dance long.
The flat of his hand on her back.
This is Clara Brown’s first publication.
Image: Deconstructing Vogue, By Leigh-Anne Fraser
February 19, 2012 § 4 Comments
Pieces of Me
The printer whirrs and spits out the last of the photographs. I spread them out across the kitchen table. The overhead light creates a glare on the glossy paper. I turn the dimmer switch down and look at them again. Nine pictures of me: walking in the woods, driving home to Ottawa, sitting at the top of a Ferris wheel in Carp, walking along the Mississippi River. I pull out a chair and stand on it. I hit my head on the chandelier. It spins around on the brassy black chain the light hangs from. Two bulbs have burned out. For a moment I feel guilty for the dead bulbs and the layer of dust everywhere. It passes. I look down at the table. Faces stare back at me. My chest aches. I touch and press the soft fleshy place where they cut you if you stop breathing so they can stick a tube in to do a tracheal intubation. I gulp for air. The chair wobbles.
In two photos I am smiling. Brave smile, looking up at the camera at the moment I caught her looking at me through her lens. In the others I am not paying attention to her. I am focused on something else, camera dangling from one hand, distracted, bent over, drawn to examine it more closely. My daughter took them all, when I wasn’t looking. Except for one. I shift my feet. The seat belches and cracks. I left the chairs out in the rain one afternoon in the summer. The plastic veneer puckered and the chair dried brittle. I step down before I break it completely. The me in the photos watches. Even if I look at the photos sideways, I can’t avoid the eyes. Dark and sad even though the me is smiling; lines of worry parading on her face; pale shade of defeat, loss. My chest feels heavy again. The cat comes in and jumps on the table, sending the photos sliding across as he does. I rescue them before they fall. The few photographs I have of myself were taken by someone else and most of them stared up at me from the tabletop.
A thought trips through my brain, making me take a step back. I bump into the counter. These pictures are how she sees me. Not what I see. She told me this morning, when she found her camera in her bed room that her personal goal is to capture me any time we are out. I won’t know when. The me eyes stare back. I am not sure how I feel about it. I scratch at my neck.
Leigh-Anne grew up in the Ottawa Valley, and still considers Kinburn, Ontario to be home. When she isn’t writing or working at her day job as the Fundraising and Special Events Coordinator for the Boys & Girls Club of London, Leigh-Anne can often be found stomping around in the woods around St. Thomas, ON with her daughters, camera in hand.
Image: Walking in the Morning, by Leigh-Anne Fraser