I guess I assume that when they look at their pictures they see their beauty. I never saw my beauty, or well, I did. I saw a beauty, I felt a beauty, that as age set in I came to think was false. It was the kind of beauty that the photographs couldn’t capture and the mirrors didn’t relay well.
Sometime ago I started writing a book. I filled its pages with the horrors of teenagehood. I don’t know why when I was in the midst of developing my storyline that I put my lead character down as a weaker or lesser form of human life. I don’t know why I never stopped and rubbed it out. “Reprint!” I shout. I don’t know why I let it stick like bubble gum to my shoes.
No lie, I think people can see it. I think they see what the photograph sees, cruel and hard like the light reflecting off the hubcaps. I still feel it! I grind my nails along my brow. You see now, I started writing this book and over time my characters began to develop on their own. My pen still swayed them of course, but seeing that I had started my lead off as a lesser it wasn’t surprising when my own pencil scratched antagonists surpassed her. A while ago I thought of maybe rewriting the star role. I thought maybe I’d write her in something for kicking the nic, spritzing the zits, and some kind of support for her lack of confidence. I even thought of scratching the whole thing and bringing her back as a man.
My keyboard hummed for many days as I went about pursuing changes. My character rebelled however at my outlandish attempts to alter her and nothing changed. It wasn’t realistic, I know. A true writer has to stay true to her characters initial traits or the story won’t be believable. I did write her in some nicotine gum.
I’ve developed some strong characters over the years. Most of which only seemed to hinder my protagonist. Sometimes I think it’s like writing a 'Choose Your Own Adventure', only I haven’t gotten past the dead ends.
I throw a ball against my ceiling and try to think of a way to be a writer. “When dreams fail”, I laugh, and chuck the ball towards my garbage can. How to un-weave what I have woven and realistically save my protagonist from her own demise. I do throw in good things here or there. “She likes poetry and science fiction,” I stated on one of the pages. And, “Wow,” I wrote in a sentence later, “I gave her an incredible imagination.” I grin, and kiss my fingertips like a french chef who’s just baked a prize pie.
I gave her a lot of courage after I realized I’d slaughtered her self-esteem. I gave her scads of mischief and... well, I wish I hadn’t. I sigh. That just gave her a free for all for finding trouble. I remember this one chapter where she.... Nah. I get up and retrieve the ball.
So you see, I didn’t do her all bad. Every once and a while I know she likes to feel pretty, so I'll write in a way for her to find some extra cash and go to the salon. Sometimes I think I should write in extra work experience for her resume or tell her the secret numbers to the lottery I run over at the corner store. The Keno, that one. I talked about it in chapter 7. She always smiles when I help her out, although she doesn’t know who I am. I guess maybe it seems like I have some guilt.
I put the computer down and take a sip of water from a glass on my shelf. I put the ball on the pillow next to me. I imagine that it looks like a round blue egg in a fluffy white nest. “I’ll be waiting a long time for that one to hatch,” I snicker to myself. I pick the ball up and chuck it against the dresser. Photographs and yearbooks quiver on top. “Fuck,” I swear beneath my breath. I look at my computer, two screens flash in front of me - Microsoft Word and Firefox. One program holds all my bullshit and the other holds the bullshit of everyone else. I pretend to choke with a noose around my neck. I do the actions and everything, I even stick my tongue out of my gaping dead mouth. Maybe I do have some guilt. Maybe I feel a little bit guilty for starting such a major story at an age where I didn’t know how to write. She knows, I know, that I wrote her in as a lesser in the opening paragraph. She’s sad, I know, and all I can do is type her in hope until I can figure out the writing style of a 'Choose Your Own Adventure'.
Through all my efforts of salvation I cursed my protagonist to be a lesser. A failure. And I can’t change what’s already been written. I gave her courage, I gave her strength, I gave her time so that her body may curve beautifully into the bone structure I have prepared for it. Courage, strength and time, but no new beginnings. And every night, without knowing who I am, she whispers, “Thank you for another day.”