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 am approaching an anniversary of sorts. The anniversary of a season of cracking, of fissures. Of buying rolls of duct tape to wind around my ribs, to keep me upright, to keep the hemorrhaging in my chest contained. Of walking through an actual blizzard to get the news, stomping down the snow quieted streets with grim and stupid determination, to receive what I knew was coming. It would take me months to write this, and even longer to release it. And so, here.

It is the end of this relationship. Not the final weeks or days, but the final minutes, the final seconds. And so I ask the question: “What do I look like to you?” And I see the panic and confusion on his face, I have seen him look trapped like that before. “It’s not a trick question,” I say “I’ll just never be able to ask it again.”

His head is thrown back against the chair. He is exhausted. He has given up. He is unshaven, there are purple marks from sleep loss under his eyes. His clothing is disheveled. He looks like shit. He looks like the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

And I watch him talk, watch him give me the adjectives for what I look like to him. And it’s true, I did not mean it to be a test. But in all of what he did say, there is the thing he did not, and the absence of that is a profound mortifying grounding gut wrench. He did not say, “You are beautiful.”

And so there is only one thing left to do. I leave.


Blogger slickaphonic said...


12:45 AM  
Blogger ttractor said...

yeah. this has been sitting on my writing pad for months. time to let it out into the air.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Well, I know it's not the same, but:

I've met you. I see you. You are beautiful.

1:55 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

thank you, ever so much. His failure to see me, or failure to tell me that he did, was actually a gift. If not for that, that absolute demonstration of lack of regard (as this is how I read it), I would still be howling at the loss, instead of just whimpering and whispering.

5:55 PM  
Blogger cherrydragonut said...

The hemoraging in your chest? From a broken heart? A broken tie? Or what? Are you bleeding?

tTractor, "The end of this relationship" is a beginning of something else. Something breaks and something else gets fixed, you know that. And sometimes there's pain. And then you fast forward and you feel something else.

What were you looking for? A compliment? Complement?

6:25 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

I was looking for him to tell me the truth, when flattery no longer mattered, when he was no longer obligated to think of me in any one particular way. I got more truth than I thought I would.

6:30 PM  

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