jolie laide

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.


I get a seat on the train and settle in for a long ride uptown. I am listening to music and reading, I am not interested in taking anything in. The car is slowly filling up and I am sunken into my book, barely aware of the forest of legs, coats, bags. Absorbed, I forget, and suddenly we are at my stop. I am hemmed in and I leap up to make it to the doors before they close. My verticality surprises the man standing in front of me, he does not have time to get out of my way, and our faces veer within inches of each others. On the verge of collision, in a flash I see the fine skin over his cheekbone, a spray of light freckles, the tiny blond hairs gleaming at his hairline. It is so evocative, so precious, I am stunned and I stumble out of the train and into the night.


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