Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fiction exerpt: Marla's Beauty

She sighs, as she wakes, thinking that she is still alive.

Last evening, Harry changed his approach. He did not like to ask his clients about their past. To him, everything is will and following small simple steps. But since she kept giving in to the temptation of eating, and nothing was changing, he also gave in and asked her about the history of her weight and about her family.

When she was 13, Marla’s parents divorced. Mark, her older brother by five years, took care of her. They kept in touch with their dad, Gregory, while their mother, Jasmine, disappeared with a South American younger man.

Marla was a model at 16. Slim, sexy, with intense big brown eyes, and slightly asymmetrical eyebrows, few men could resist her, or women. She had been on the front cover of several magazines and already made quite a fortune by the time she was 18. People were attracted to her and she enjoyed the attention. She had been on dates with more people than she could remember.

At 20, she mentored the newest girl, Cath, who was starting at 16 as she had. Marla saw in Cath her competition and her ruin, but also what she used to dream. She knew the lifestyle would soon swallow her alive and there was nothing to be done, except help her get the best possible memories and pretend that all would be wonderful, a Cinderella type experience.

At 22, she and Cath had a fling. She shared Cath and did drugs with Mark when things got tough with his wife, Sam, who was seeing Gregory secretly.

At 25, Marla was bored. Alcohol, drugs, food, sex had taken a toll on her spirit. Her eyes were dull; she looked absent. She had started to gain weight.

At 30, she weighed 250 pounds, give or take.

Mark calls her every day. Sam left him. June, his newest sweetheart, is clean. He wants to try and be clean with her. June could no longer keep Hank’s stories straight and left him. The way she puts it: “He is a successful gambler as long as he isn’t drinking, whether he lies about it or not, which he is.”

Marla felt numb as she was throwing up these memories to Harry. It was as though all of this happened to someone else.

Now, not wanting to wake up, the memories hit her by their stark darkness. She feels nauseous. Suicide is on her mind but a part of her has not completely given up. She did not want to remember the past. She liked Harry until last night. Now she feels lonelier than ever. Even in her stardom days as a model, she was lonely. She escaped it by partying, by thinking she belonged to that world. Reality had finally caught up with how she’d been feeling all along.

(soon to be published in a collection of shorts called CONSTELLATIONS)