|Publisher:||Soho Press, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.18(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.91(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Blake loves me, Ivory repeats to herself to push away the other words: He's in love with somebody else. He said he had to help his uncle skid logs out of the woods before the ground thaws, but outside the narrow bathroom window, stapled over with plastic, she sees mud, her father's footprints, soggy as waffles and leading to the shed.
Maybe Blake doesn't notice the mud, maybe he sees only Charity, the girl from parties at the gravel pit, who flashes her boobs in the school library. They're going to the movies, Ivory imagines, maybe a Conan movie.
It's time to shave her legs. She pulls up her pajamas, soaps her calves, her knees, up her thighs. She uses the safety razor her mom gave her last birthday, which she keeps clean and polished, changing the blade before it rusts.
Pamper yourself, she read in a magazine. Take extra time in the bathroom. Love yourself. Pretend you're somebody else, who loves you and says, You're beautiful, smooth skin or stubble-y ...
She's sitting cramped on the counter, one leg in the sink. Outside, her dad's boots suck mud as he passes the window. She nicks her knee. Hurry. She shaves the other leg, not the way somebody who loves her would but rush-rush, an everyday job with someone impatient on the other side of the door. She dries her calves. It's springtime, and Blake's with Charity at Conan the Destroyer.
"Ivory!" Her dad's low voice. His cough rattles, stones striking glass in his chest.
She grabs her towel andrazor, then opens the door: shame at him catching her shaving, at him catching her. Both legs sting. Her face and hair flame up. He pushes past her, shaking his head.
Blake loved me first, Ivory says on the closed side of her bedroom door. He'll love me again.... Feet wide apart, she sits down on her bed, slowly, gingerly, needing to protect some organ of memory that's painful to touch. A joint would help, make her drifty so she'd float out the window, over the deep tromp of feet in April ground.
She twists the handle of her razor, removes the blade and rubs it on a corner of her flannel pajama top until it shines. She pulls down her pajama bottom and runs her palm down one smooth leg. Pamper yourself. Pretend you're somebody else, who loves you.
She holds the razor the way she holds a pencil to draw with. Skin is paper, blood is lead, pain the bright smell of marigolds. She draws two squares, one stacked on the other, the letter B. And then all the letters lace together into a necklace of red beads.
BLAKE, her leg says. It's so beautiful it's all she can swallow, this beautiful word carved into her skin. The word glows. She imagines cutting it out and wearing it on a gold chain ... But right now, just for a second, she's outside of wanting anything. Sharp joy is all she feels. I love you weighs as much as a heart cut out and saved in a jewelry box, and that's next-to-nothing.