Monday October 29. 2001
a wordgoddess collab : who tells stories about you?

who she is

Every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, I see her, and she always looks tired.

I clock in, and walk over to the music department. She sees me, and her eyes smile, a real genuine smile. She doesn't fake her smiles - if she's miserable, she usually makes no secret of it. There's dark circles under her eyes, which are a bit glassy with fatigue. I ask her how she is, like I usually do at the beginning of every shift, and we catch up on the few days we haven't seen each other (she only works here three days a week). This time she sighs and tells me about 14 hour days in the studio, little or no sleep, and lots of stress. She doesn't volunteer this information to me. I usually have to ask.

She's wearing one of her outfits again, usually layers, a skirt over her flared jeans, a denim jacket over her t-shirt. Her brown hair ("Boring brown hair," she says) is covered as usual by an elaborate, carefully arranged turban. She told me once it's been all sorts of colors, from red to green to blonde ("which looked awful") and now her own hair color is growing back, a glossy medium brown. She consults me on what I think black would look like. It's the only color I haven't tried, she says. Plus I'm feeling rather goth lately. I told her black would make her look pale, try dark brown instead. She agreed, and said she had been thinking the same thing.

"The last place I want to be right now is a bookstore." she says as we lean over the music desk, like we usually do, slacking off, trying not to be noticed by the management staff. She has her large peach Italian soda, I have my coffee. The usual is playing over the PA in the music department - the gypsy cd, David Gray, Blondie, Stevie Nicks. There's almost no one in the store right now, so we should really be back in the cage sorting the new releases - but neither of us feel like doing it.

We usually have lunch at the same time. We drive over the KFC's in her ancient Camry and order chicken strips. Sometimes she'll join me for a cigarette afterwards, even though she claims she doesn't smoke. Parliament 100s. She sips in the smoke and coughs and makes her usual comment about the cigarettes being dipped in turpentine. It's freezing cold outside, so we finish up and go inside. Afterwards, there will be some good natured whining about the pain in her lungs. She smokes when she's stressed, she says, which is almost all the time now.

The way she conducts herself, the way she walks projects an air of confidence, and she says in some ways she is. She is at peace with the size of her ass, she says, patting it gently, trying not to laugh. But sometimes she says she's scared, that she's afraid she's no good at anything. I don't understand why she feels like this. She says she really doesn't either.

One Year Ago:
"Once in Utrecht, I pretty much sealed my fate as far as this next painting is concerned. The stretchers I selected were 68 inches and 44 inches. As in, taller than me. I am going to paint a painting TALLER THAN ME."

Two Years Ago:
"I still haven't learned the appropriate time to shut my mouth, but that's a lifetime goal."