Audrey stood in front of the mirror that night with the radio on staring at her body in just in her bra and panties
evaluating her body, comparing her body, her hair, her mouth, her behind
putting tissue paper in her bra cups trying to get them look like Carly’s breasts puffing out her behind pouting her lips
trying on a shade of lipstick of lip gloss
that matched the kinds Carly wore.
She put on her shortest shirt
thinking to hem it to make it shorter
but not too short;
She didn’t want to look cheap; she would have to hide it in her backpack to get it out of the house.
She would have to change in the girl’s bathroom at school hoping no one would notice how her clothing had changed
that no one would notice and tell her parents,
or worse report her to the school principal.
She didn’t want people to start to talking about her
that would be mortifying
rumors would start
boys would start to think she was easy
some of the girls would say she was a tramp or “fast.”
Lots of girls at school wore short skirts
but if she Audrey wore one
people would notice,
her reputation would get ruined.
She looked at the skirt in the mirror
to see if her thighs,
looked fat or were too thick.
She stared at them not being able to tell
she was not used to seeing her thighs in a short skirt.
She went to her closet to retrieve a top, a white top,
because she felt that would not draw as much attention buttoning up the front, with tiny pearl buttons staring at herself in the mirror;
examining hertissue-paper breasts
inside the top,
noting to her embarrassment
that her breasts had lumps.
Lumpy breasts would be a problem.
She pulled out a pair of socks from her closet
placing them carefully inside her bra.
They looked ok
but she would have to sew them in|
to be sure they didn’t fall out.
She dropped the socks on the dark carpet and went to the closet to look again for something else.
She decided on cotton,
which she tore from the shoulder pads of the suit her aunt had given her
for her visit to New York
her junior year.
She took the shoulder pads out and tried them on,
turning slowing in front of the mirror to see how they looked.
They were perfect;
she breathed a gentle sigh of relief.
Now the eyes and the makeup;
She had some
and some she had borrowed
from her mother’s makeup kit and some she had gotten from her girlfriend, Mary offering the excuse she had seen in a magazine some new things which could be done
Mary didn’t ask any questions.
Arrayed before her was eyeliner, blush, powder,
and tweezers for eyebrow plucking,
gloss, foundation, false eyebrows, eyelash thickener, sparkles,
and something Mary had given her which she had no clue as to what it could be used for
( It turned out something which could thicken newly plucked eyebrows.)
She never wore makeup before, at least to school
and it suddenly dawn on her
that showing up with the makeup on was bound to be noticed
and commented upon the boys eyes would rove over her body
and the girls would whisper in corners.
She turned from the mirror, feeling dazed going to sit on the side of her bed
that all this, her plan
people would fain
to cast her as fallen.
If her love was steady and strong
I would see that in time
eventually or not.
But she would not pretend to be a person different than she was
because that would be obvious to everyone,
to me and to herself.
If love was to triumph here Audrey concluded
it could not be based upon makeup and tight clothing
trying to be an imitation Carly.
Decided what to do, she closed the make-up cases intinctively understanding it was an really important decision in her young life
more about she than I
about being who she really was.
The next day she told me what she had decided to do not omitting any detail
surprised looking at her for a moment
as she told me all of the details
of the night before:
the makeup, the short skirt
the tight blouse, the thighs--
all of it.