Flash Fiction / 1000 Words
There is nothing like the pleasure of a silk shirt. The way it glides on your skin. The feeling of air. The feeling of nothing. I wish I didn’t like expensive clothing. I wish I had never experienced the luxuriousness of incredible Italian fabrics. Or do I? I mean I’m thrilled I know what it feels like to put on a $300 La Perla bra and panty, slip into a pair of $300 jeans, a $200 blouse and $400 Prada loafers in butter beige. I hate myself for saying it. I feel guilty. It feels wrong. It feels shallow. Most of the time, I don’t feel like I deserve it if it’s any consolation.
Don’t get me wrong I am conscious of what I have. I know everyone can’t have what I have. As I walk down Broadway from 34th Street to Soho, it’s nice to be noticed. It’s exhilarating to watch people stop talking and turn their heads. It’s what everyone wants isn’t it? To be noticed? It’s my life, every day.
I’m not famous. I’m not a celebrity. I’m not a supermodel. I am 24 years old, I live in Manhattan, and I’m a normal, everyday, fashion model. I’m the one people think they know because they’ve seen me on the cover of a Bloomingdales catalog. I’m the one they think they know because they’ve seen me in the window of Ann Taylor. I’m the one they think they know because they’ve seen me in their favorite Anthropologie catalogs. I’m the one people stop and look at because I look like I might be famous. I look like I might be a celebrity. I look like someone they know. They can’t place it, but they stop and think. They know they’ve seen me before, but they aren’t sure where. They stare. I keep moving, earbuds in, Linkin Park blasting in my ear …
“I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end, it doesn’t even matter. I had to fall …”
I just finished a booking for Anthropologie. A great client. Big budget, brilliant photographers, talented art directors. I was booked for the day, but we finished early, so I’m heading to my favorite boutique, to check out what’s new. Broadway and 18th street, 12 blocks to go, an easy to walk in Manhattan.
I’m 5’10” so I don’t wear heels unless I’m going out. Walking is my choice of transportation these days. I’ve been a bit skittish about taking subways since 9/11. It’s been a little over a year, but it’s impossible to forget. Walking is good for me anyway, after downing that bowl of peanut M&M’s in the dressing room. Joseph looks up when he hears the door buzz.
I smile and make my way down the left side of the store. I don’t have much time—have to go to my agency to pick up a check and then back to my apartment to get ready for tonight. I’m hoping I’ll find something I can wear. I love the feeling of wearing something for the first time, before it’s been washed. I have this knack for making things look old after wearing them once. The boutique is set up like most NYC high-end boutiques, sparse clothing hanging on side walls from front to back, front has the most recent additions. The three small racks in the middle hold featured items, usually what’s displayed in the window. The back wall are sale items — I avoid those.
I fantasize about dressing bohemian but for whatever reason I always beeline to black, tailored clothing—maybe because of my short, blonde hair, I don’t know. In New York, models have to look the part. I can’t throw on jeans and a t-shirt and go to a casting like Los Angeles. Sometimes I do when I don’t give a shit. Most of the time, I’m decked out in body-conscious clothing— tailored, little frills, amazing fit. Tonight I’m going to my agency party, so I have to look the part for photographers and art directors. A simple black dress – sleeveless, zips up the back, slits up the right side, above the knees. Perfect. Understated but sexy.
It’s 5:30 PM by the time I make it home. I get caught by a neighbor on the way in. I live in a brownstone on the upper east side. It’s small, seven units, all owner occupied. I have a one bedroom with a loft – it’s tri-level, bedroom downstairs, living room, kitchen on the main level and a loft up a library style ladder from the living room.
He isn’t home yet. He knows we are going tonight. Where the fuck is he? Party starts at 8:00 PM. It’s a dinner, so can’t be late. I call his cell, no answer. I’m so done with this. I dial the number for the bar.
“Yo, you got a phone call,” yells the bartender in his thick Irish accent. Lots of cheering going on in the background.
“Hey,” he said in his arrogant, reserved tone.
“I thought you’d be home. Whatever, I’ll go alone.” I said.
“You’re my wife! You aren’t going to any fucking modeling thing without me. Those fucking photographers have no respect.”
It’s all about respect. He’s already drunk. My father was an alcoholic.
“So, do you want to meet me there or are you coming here?” I ask him.
“I’ll be there in a few. Wait there.”
It’s a control thing. We are always late for everything. I was hoping no one would be disrespectful tonight. He gets jealous. I don’t get it, he knew what he was getting into. HE MARRIED A MODEL. Did he think everyone would ignore me once we got married?
There were signs. I ignored them. I liked the attention. It felt good. Like when he accused me of flirting with his best friend. We’d only been dating a month. I just turned 21. Maybe I was flirting. But he flirted too. We were married 11 months later. I ignored the signs.