There was her method of swooning, which involved letting go on an ice rink of shattered
glass, her long red hair strewn over the crackles, cheek bones against ice cube pebbles (in
their sharpness, like a mirror) and the sense that below the ice glass or glass ice was
another room that could be looked into, or looked up from. At around the same time, she
noticed more men staring at her in the grocery store, where she had chosen recently to
expose her eyes—and their wariness—their willingness, now, to assess and retract—a
process she would allow the men to see as it occurred, and though she despised this—
there was the recognition that her prior openness had limits—she saw, at the same time,
their fascination, realized this as a part of the allure of women who had always seemed
somehow “older” than she would ever be, more “knowing,” even when they were young.
It was an animal look—the look of someone interested in survival primarily—that she
hadn’t imagined, especially in moments of dismissal, could attract. But in those moments
on the cold glass, her skin seemed even more pale and translucent—like something not
meant to survive, impossible as protective cover—and the gaze of assessment was trained
on her own face while her body—sinuous and arduously long, angular as a spider—lay in
its mass of hair: puzzling, unforgettable.