DD by Jessica Pishko
YOU KNOW IT’S TROUBLE when your boyfriend says, “Why don’t you dress like Natalie?”
Natalie is 5’9” with a DD chest and legs up to her neck.
You decide not to get mad because that would be immature. You look in the mirror, pout a little, adjust your hair, and wipe mascara away from under your eyes.
You pretend that you aren’t mad, but tell him that you are going out with the girls and he shouldn’t wait up. He shrugs and changes the channel on the TV from one game to another. The announcers talk excitedly and whistles blow.
Your boyfriend doesn’t really know you that well, you think. You doubt anyone knows you that well, but you think that your girlfriends do. They say things like: “Men stink,” and: “You just need a drink, girl.” You don’t even have to tell them what is on your mind, they just know. Your boyfriend doesn’t know what’s on your mind and doesn’t have enough mind of his own to ask. He never seems to have anything on his mind. You think it would be nice to be able to pretend like you never hear or see anything. What a good excuse that would be.
You and your girlfriends meant to go to a club in Williamsburg, but since the line was wrapped around the block and the bouncer didn’t respond to your friend’s attempt to pull up her miniskirt and pull down her tank top, all of you decide to settle on the dive bar across the street. You like the men at dive bars better, you say, although that really isn’t true. But you like to imagine that you are the kind of girl who is happier with a beer than a Cosmo and a man in a work shirt with a sunburnt neck than one in a blue shirt.
You sidle up next to a man in a blue shirt standing near the bar. He’s ordering a drink. You stick out your chest and your lower back arches, like an animal in heat, you imagine. You use imagery to give yourself more courage. You used to put sticky notes on your bathroom mirror and chant to yourself that “you are beautiful,” but you felt like you looked ugly saying it. You are horrified to find yourself whispering under your breath now: “You are beautiful. You are beautiful.”
He barely looks at you, but you decide it’s an invitation and ask what he’s drinking. Bud, he tells you. I’d like one too, you exclaim, as if it was very exciting. You imagine that this makes him feel very important.
He’s starting a conversation with you about democracy and the Kings of Leon. You keep your eyes wide and clear like an anime character, and blink exaggeratedly. When he takes a sip of his beer, you do too. Mirroring, it’s called in the wild.
He understands you, or he understands you at least as much as your boyfriend does. More than understanding, you want someone to make you. You have an idea of what you would like to be, like those girls over there. Natalie with her DDs.
JESSICA PISHKO was raised in Plano, Texas. She attended Rice University as an undergrad, where she received a B.A. in English and French. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 2002 and moved to New York, where she currently lives in the East Village with her dog, Sammy, and fiance, who prefers to remain anonymous. Jessica worked at a couple of “big law” firms in New York, quit, became a yoga teacher, kept writing. She is enrolled in the M.F.A. program at Columbia for fiction writing. Her stories have been published on anderbo.com.