Found Polaroid #49

And hey she was that heartbreaking earth-shaking blonde n’ buxom cherry pie bombshell, remember?  She crosses her ankles all lady-like while whoops and catcalls ring out in her mind, like the ones that used to erupt from the corner of Main and East 5th as she’d flounce by, aflutter with polyester and perfume.  Once, she was the queen of that neighborhood, but gentrification and a bum hip had corroded her crown. Straightening her back, she feels the individual contours of her body sink into the cushioned seat of a cerulean vinyl chair. 

She runs fingers lacquered with shimmer over her rayon dress, coaxing out wrinkles. Beside her, a defunct travel poster advertising palm laden Punta Gorda hangs on the wall like a garish fantasy window. Last night in the shower, she had shaved her legs with a new Bic razor and big foamy billows of shaving cream.  Gazing adoringly at the bald pearly skin of her calves and shins, she wonders on this menial nightly task, and how much easier it had been now that she’d had a small stool installed in her shower, and a handrail to grasp with each change in position.  

A cigarette hangs lazily from between her fingers.  She’d smoked them since high school when they’d take the place of her meals to help achieve emaciation.  Her grandma, with haughty high-necked matronliness, would scold her slim frame and tell her that she’d blow away in a bad storm.  She’d scoff and prance around her room in bikini tops and dizzy spells. Now her grandma was dead and her own distended abdomen had been kept trim with tummy tucks instead of tobacco.  

But hey she was the ‘it’ girl remember!  If they didn’t drool over her, they envied her!  She fixes her shining eyes upon the black lens before her and flashes that artificially-whitened-million-dollar-smile.  The man behind the camera clicks the shutter, capturing the photo for her newly updated AARP profile.

Story by Maggie Allan

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