I went to a wedding reception at the house of a man who painted with
his ass. The largest of these paintings was in his foyer. People stood
around it and said, that's his ass, because you couldn't tell it was
his ass until someone pointed it out. I stood with them. I wore a black
and purple check skirt, a belt cinched tight around my waist. People
were surprised by the size of it.
After, a few of us went out.
I rode in the backseat with a boy I knew from school. He hadn't thought
of me before but now he had his hand on my thigh, pinching at my
pantyhose. I suspected he was gay. He only paid attention to the most
beautiful girls, as if he could only comment on them aesthetically. His
hand went up and down. It started a fire. I raised my ass and took my
pantyhose off and stuffed them in the clutch my mother let me borrow.
It was empty except for a twenty dollar bill, a tube of lipstick, and a
bottle of clear nail polish for runs. She was teaching me how to be a
lady. I was supposed to have already learned. The boy in the driver's
seat was watching me in the rearview mirror, alarmed. He thought I was
his precious flower. My brother was in the passenger seat smoking his
silver cigarette, not offering it around like he normally did. The boy
I suspected was a homosexual said I needed to shave.
We parked and got out. I went straight for the bathroom and hovered
over the bowl and read the words I knew by heart. The sink was
water-stained, the mirror missing a corner. I recognized myself in it
right away. When I came out, the boy from the driver's seat was waiting
with a can of beer. He was so tall his body had begun to curve back
around. People were always asking how tall he was. I was short, but no
one ever asked exactly how.
"Thank you," I said, and I stood there for a minute while he tried to
open me up and then I went and sat down with the homosexual. I let him
run his hand up my skirt. Touch my panties. The ceiling began to leak,
the water accumulating on the table and I watched the drops swell and
swell until they could no longer contain themselves.
Mary Miller's chapbook of shorts, Less Shiny, is now out from Magic Helicopter Press. A collection of longer stories, Big World,
is due out early next year on Hobart's imprint.
To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200812aesthete.htm
Read MM's "Target Practice" from the archive.
Detail of photo on main page courtesy
w i g · l e a F