Images and Reality

“What classes are you going to today?”

My roommate Elizabeth is daubing on her makeup, glancing at me in the mirror.  I’m maneuvering myself through the tiny room, simultaneously getting dressed and stumbling over the rain boots of our third roommate, Michelle.

“Uh, French and English,” I respond finally, shucking my pajamas into my laundry bin and tugging on a pair of jeans. “How about you?”

Elizabeth’s lips look gooey under their sheen of gloss. “Women, Images and Reality,” the lips murmur, magnified in the mirror. “Do you have your class with the hot teacher today?”

I nod dumbly, flicking through the few shirts left hanging in my scant allotment of closet space.

“Wear that green shirt.” Elizabeth caps her gloss and looks over at me, eyelashes still glinting wet with mascara. “It’s cute. Are there any cute guys in your class?”

“I guess.” I don’t like where the conversation is going, and my vague answer only encourages her.

“So show some tits, girlie!” she says.

I take in Elizabeth’s purple tank top, speckled with pink, edged in filmy white lace. The neckline dips dramatically. Her chest looks huge, like it could shelve a six-pack of Diet Coke.

“That’s awkward, El. No one’s going to give a shit if I wear a tank top or not.”

Elizabeth scowls a little, flicks her long hair over her shoulder. “You’d be surprised, Allicat. You’d be surprised. Everyone has a guy-getting shirt. That green one might be yours.”

“It’s too cold for that. It’ll look weird.” I yank a black tee shirt from a hanger and pull it over my head. “Besides, won’t people think something’s up if I suddenly come in with my tits hanging out?”

Elizabeth shrugs, unconcerned. She passes the gloss between her hands. “Say its laundry day.” She bends back down to her mirror. “That’s how I started dating Frank.”

Allison Sofer

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