Beautiful women are oftentimes the least interesting, or maybe I only tell this to myself on humid nights when I hear the cicada and their night song and my whiskey has sweated through the fabric of my shorts. Back in school we learned their abdomens were like hollow sound boxes; that they call all night to potential lovers in the grooves of things. They aren’t pretty songs, more like reverse lullabies, and that’s why I like them over the crickets and frogs and the boy on stage thumbing his guitar. It’s a love song about a girl without a name who could be any of us, a song I used to know by heart ten years back. She had long river hair and did cruel things and sharpened her teenaged fangs with his teenage heart. We are older now, but our wants remain the same. We imagine them rough and forming on his tongue, like the pearls we’re supposed to think we are. We are told these easy lies with good intentions: why we’re worth it, why they’re not. Mantras said in front of mirrors that show lies in our eyes. We hate ourselves for wanting to be the nacreous sum of silt and irritants—a dirty, precious accident. It goes too well with our gender and that makes us uncomfortable. We are taught to find the fault lines in things. The boy’s voice crests and breaks over a word. I want to climb out of myself, leaving my uncomfortable body, its stroppy limbs with chewed-on nail beds. Whiskey is one way of accomplishing this and so I order another with a handful of change, regardless of how burnt it tastes. Bright dimes like little patinas. I think about the cicadas and the exoskeletons they’ll leave behind. About the child who will find one in the late morning and, too excited, break it open with a crunch.
Originally from Jackson, MS, Mary B. Sellers is a recent graduate of Louisiana State University’s Creative Writing MFA Program. While there, she worked on her Frankenstein of a thesis, a hybrid novel, RAPUNZEL HAS INSOMNIA, which is part story collection, part fairy tale vignette, and part personal memoir. She is also the founding editor of Awkward Mermaid Lit Mag. Her stories and essays have been featured or are forthcoming in: Flash Fiction Magazine, Sidereal Mag, Moonchild Mag, Crab Fat Magazine, Literary Orphans, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and others. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @marybsellers