Such a Pretty Girl | Teen Ink

Such a Pretty Girl

July 25, 2010
By sleeplessdreamer PLATINUM, Raleigh, North Carolina
sleeplessdreamer PLATINUM, Raleigh, North Carolina
30 articles 0 photos 332 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have always wanted to write in such a way that people say, 'I have always thought that but never found the words for it.'" -anonymous

She sits in a room that is drowning in perfume and powder. She stares at a face that is hardly recognizable under the black, pink, and beige paint that covers the discolorations on her jaw, the worry clawing at the skin under her eyes, and the premature wrinkles that dance around her thinning lips.

Her body is still thin though, after all these years. Her shoulders jut out in all the right places, and her stomach doesn’t move when she walks. But for this she compromises with herself, just like she always has.

She watches the woman in the mirror put a cigarette to her mouth and blow smoke that hides her face for a long second. But even though it’s just a second, she forgets, dreams and half-expects to see her younger, happier self come back into focus. But the light assembles her reflection in the glass to the fading beauty she has become, and the tiny hope inside her dwindles to nothing more than air in her stomach, blowing out slowly with each wheezing breath she lets out.

Habit tingles in her fingers, wanting to stretch towards the half-empty bottle of scotch on the edge of her vanity, but she doesn’t take it for the first time in… well, who knows how long. She wants to be sober when she dies. She wants her last feelings, emotions, and pains to be the strongest. She doesn’t want to glaze over anything.

The woman glances at the gun in her hand. The skin on her fingers can taste the metal, the toxic bitterness of the trigger. The bullets shake on the inside. Her mind rattles and waits in fear.

She looks at herself again in the mirror and falls into a memory… perhaps her first clear recollection of life.

Her body shrinks. Her cigarette-damaged hair turns into thick ringlets that collect on top of her head like a mop and fall and bounce like coils from a bed. She loses the breasts, the eyeliner and wrinkles. She is four. She stands in a leotard and tights on the side of the stage and taps her foot. Girls just like her- her friends- stand and wait anxiously too. They have hair-sprayed curls, painfully bright lipstick, and sloppy blush on their cheeks. They laugh and giggle at the novelty of makeup… the stuff of grownup ladies.

But she doesn’t. She stands in the middle of it all, and when it’s time to perform, she smiles and does as stunning of a dance performance as any four-year old could.

When the recital is all over, she is handed flowers with petals that fall off like skin and twirl through the air like true ballerinas and land gracefully on her nose. Big people- the ones who always give you lipstick kisses and pinch your cheeks- tell her she’s the prettiest girl out of the whole bunch. How she has the best smile of them all.

She’s just so pretty.

Oh, Parents, you must be so proud, so fascinated to have such a pretty little girl.

Ears love that word for some reason. They cling to it and eat it and then vomit it back up so they can chew it again, even if it’s acidic, even if it’s disgusting. The little girl loves this word, and when she gets home, she will open up her mouth and try it on her tongue for size. It sounds even better in her voice.

She changes though. And when she’s ten, her body will begin to transform. Her chest become softer, her waist begins to curl in at the middle and the flare back out just above her hips like a wave, and by the time she’s twelve, she notices men look at her differently. They’ve stopped smiling like they have candy in their mouths. Now they smile like they want candy in their mouths. Their eyes run down and then pop back up, only to go back down again a few minutes later.

But it won’t be until she’s thirteen that she will discover the reason for this.

He is her father’s visitor. A good business partner, as Father always describes him. Soon their business relationship becomes a friendship and the man comes to their house more and more regularly. His name is Mr. Cummings, but she soon will come to call him George.

“You know, you’re such a pretty girl,” he breathes into her ear one night in the kitchen. She is washing dishes after an elaborate dinner Mr. Cummings has been invited to. They are alone, and the knowledge paints the cream colored walls the most daring of reds. “So pretty.”

There it is. That word again.

Her sigh trembles in the air. “Thank you, Mr. Cummings. But I—“

She will never finish that sentence. His lips taste quite wonderful when laid upon hers. They taste like the pecan pie they had for dessert and bubble gum and peppermint. His skin smells like cologne, and his breath is warm when it blends with hers.

He will come back. He will say that toxic word again. He will take her to a quieter place. They will do things that must remain between them and no one else. And she is convinced he loves her.

Until one day, her George moves with his wife and kids to a place far away from her. No call. No warning. Nothing.

Without him, his beautiful words and wandering hands, her appearance looks plainer. Her eyes don’t have that sparkle, her lips aren’t as full and pink, and her cheeks are a sickly pallor.

That’s when the lip gloss, blush, and mascara find an almost permanent residence on her face.

Later, in high school, boys will come and go. They will say the word again and sometimes use even more elaborate vocabulary. They will call her “beautiful”, “gorgeous”, or “to-die-for”. They are like passwords, and she lets each one go through her like a punch in the gut, a steady impact that brought only pain.
Each pain is presented to her in different ways.

Some will hit her, be rough with her, call her ugly names. But it all doesn’t matter if the word is still there on the tips of their tongues. If they still think she is pretty, she can handle anything.

That’s when the foundation and eyeliner nestle into her pores also.

When she isn’t in school, she discovers some men will even pay her crinkled, green paper to be able to call her pretty, to hold her in the dark, and mess with her beauty. They will strip her dignity with their rough, selfish hands and leave in the morning with a piece of her they will throw away at the next gas station, or forget about in the glove compartment of their car. But she will always see their faces, hear their voices and see their mouths form her favorite and most hated word: “Pretty.”

But now she is here, and she can’t find herself. She is lost somewhere in the dead bodies of men she has gone through. She sits on top of a mountain of emotionless faces, just shells of humans that she has discarded as she goes along. Her face is caked in their deteriorating, exterior love, their lustful, unabashed glances, and their fingers that take her body and mangle it into nothing more than a jumbled heap of weary flesh that breathes with a heavy strain.

She licks her lips and crushes her cigarette in the ashtray, lifting the murderous metal ever-so-slowly to her temple.

She really was such a pretty girl.
But that pretty face is strewn across the carpet now.
And her rich, red blood is staining the mirror.

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This article has 40 comments.

on Apr. 26 2019 at 5:06 pm
mirrored13 BRONZE, Dale City, Virginia
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.

– Christopher Robin

That was just... so in depth and from the heart. This story has left me breathless and in awe with the way that you not brought harsh realities such as lust and immorality to the surface, but that you put together something truly incredible. You deserve that star by your work.

on Jun. 23 2014 at 2:50 pm
Olivia-Atlet ELITE, Dardenne Prairie, Missouri
325 articles 10 photos 1165 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To these the past hath its phantoms,
More real than solid earth;
And to these death does not mean decay,
But only another birth"
- Isabella Banks

AWESOME PIECE! don't ever stop writing! XD

Chala SILVER said...
on Apr. 28 2014 at 8:20 pm
Chala SILVER, Sonora, California
8 articles 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."-The Great Gatsby
"All the world's a stage."-Hamlet

Don't stop.

JRaye PLATINUM said...
on Jun. 8 2013 at 8:34 pm
JRaye PLATINUM, Dorr, Michigan
43 articles 10 photos 523 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you."

"Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, 'I just don't care.'?"

I might just a good way, this is beautifully written and so painfully true. I love how you're not only adressing an important topic, you've made a story out of it. You've made it personal, shown through the eyes of a girl who's lost herself all because of one sick, twisted man. I hope to read more from you! Keep up the good work :)

on Apr. 5 2013 at 4:48 pm
MacabreMacaw BRONZE, Monrovia, Maryland
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

Very powerful. Although the beginning is necessary for context, I think that the latter portion concerning how a worship of aesthetics damages you, is what makes this worthy of note.

on Jan. 10 2013 at 7:49 am
In_Love_with_Writing GOLD, Easton, Pennsylvania
12 articles 0 photos 389 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phillipians 4:13

Awesome story!! Nice!! Can you comment and rate some of my work?

on Oct. 30 2012 at 12:34 pm
ChrisJ PLATINUM, Rochester, New York
24 articles 15 photos 289 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Wow..... I think that you have a real gift for writing! Please make sure to read my short story too!

Prose said...
on Jul. 3 2012 at 3:52 pm
Prose, Buffalo, New York
0 articles 0 photos 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"Shoot for the moon; even if you miss you\'ll land among the stars.\"

I love this!  Please please PLEASE keep writing more!

on Sep. 18 2011 at 3:11 pm
JoPepper PLATINUM, Annandale, Virginia
35 articles 0 photos 782 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Freedom is the ability to not care what the other person thinks."

"Not all those who wander are lost" --JRR Tolkien

"When you are listening to music it is better to cover your eyes than your ears." --Jose' Bergamin


on Jul. 12 2011 at 11:48 am
iamonecoolradiator, London, Other
0 articles 0 photos 22 comments
That was incredible! and the best ending ever, couldn't have been written better x

on Feb. 2 2011 at 10:43 am
OffTopic SILVER, Livingston, New Jersey
5 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." -- Anton Chekhov

You've heard this a million times already, but you absolutely deserve it:  this piece is beautiful and sticks with its readers.  I read it a while ago, but I couldn't stop thinking about it and had to come back and read it again and again.  I can't believe it didn't make it into the magazine; it truly belongs there.  :)

on Dec. 14 2010 at 12:05 pm
woah! this was absolutely amazing.

on Nov. 27 2010 at 2:33 pm
Lost-In-Life GOLD, Whitby, Other
11 articles 0 photos 299 comments

Favorite Quote:
It's never to late, if it weren't for the last minute many things would never get done!

Wow! This is amazing! I love how you describe what happens without getting too descriptive. It is so beautifully written, and it is written with such a raw power! I'm surprised this didn't make it into the magazine! Keep Writing!

on Oct. 25 2010 at 1:11 am
rebisayshi BRONZE, Los Angeles, CA, California
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
Can you imagine? Can you imagine? Can you imagine walking around with the very word of art enshrined inside of you? Because the word of salvation is art. It gets inside you, inside me. And the words that I speak are spirit, and are Art.

I love how it goes from the present then goes on to tell about her life from when she was a little girl and then flashes back to the present. Nicely done

on Oct. 14 2010 at 9:32 pm
juliam PLATINUM, Windermere, Florida
21 articles 4 photos 60 comments

Favorite Quote:
All of us learn to write in second grade. Most of us go on to greater things

This is so devastating. 

And, not (as I've seen before) because it's bad addressing a touchy subject. This is devastating deep down, in my heart, because this is real. It's real and raw and current, something that not everyone can achieve. 

So, with that, all I can say: Wow

on Sep. 29 2010 at 7:16 am
CSHCSH GOLD, Jakarta, Other
16 articles 0 photos 35 comments

Favorite Quote:
Everybody tries to change the world, but nobody tries to change themselves
-Leo Tolstoy

i LOVE It... its absolutely great... i think you'll become a great author when you grow up

on Sep. 23 2010 at 6:26 am
fandoms_for_life SILVER, Germantown, Maryland
8 articles 0 photos 5 comments
OMG, this is soooo good! Very thrilling and famous author worthy! It's very sad how she ended up, but at least she won't be hurt :)

on Sep. 20 2010 at 3:46 pm
EccePuellaScriptis112, Raleigh, North Carolina
0 articles 0 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Love - it is not the book itself, but the binding. It can rip us apart or hold us together.”
-Deb Caletti

This is so sad! But it's also amazing good. :)

on Aug. 30 2010 at 9:44 pm
darkangel09 GOLD, South Huntington, New York
13 articles 0 photos 64 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."-Voltaire

hey anytime, i enjoy your work

on Aug. 30 2010 at 2:52 pm
sleeplessdreamer PLATINUM, Raleigh, North Carolina
30 articles 0 photos 332 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have always wanted to write in such a way that people say, 'I have always thought that but never found the words for it.'" -anonymous

Thanks so much for your comments! I really appreciate them!