The Flippant Life

Magazine Displays, Charlie White, 2004-2006, 2006. SB2011. Photo by Priscy Dora

By Priscy Dora

Location:  Room 54, Motel 7 off Route 66, Sunset Boulevard.

Time: 10:03am

Camera spans room, focus on long blond hair

Mia cracks open her eyes while rubbing at the crust that had formed around the corners of her lids. The searing pain of a hangover sets in like a jolt of caffeine on the all too early Tuesday Morning. She glances down. “Great. Nakedness. Check.” Find your clothes. She pulls herself out from under the duvet, extracting herself from the limp hand around her waist. Find your clothes. Standing on the stained carpet, Mia glances around what was her home for the night. Her blond hair encircles the curves of her back. Underwear, dress, stilettos, clutch; she grabs them in her hands while hastily rushing to cover her naked body. Don’t let him see you.

In a manner of seconds she’s clothed, standing before a cracked mirror. The sore sight of a pimple finds the tips of her fingers, don’t squeeze. Her fingers graze over puffy, eyeliner-stained eyes as they follow the run of flesh neck down. The freckles on her all too pale skin annoyingly obvious as her hands smooth over the sides of her waist down to the curves of her hips. She tugs her hair behind her right ear; the pure ugliness of her human flesh comes into view as she hurriedly flips her hair back in place. Tug, flip, tug, flip, tug, flip. Don’t let him see you. Mia closes her eyes and heads for the door.

Pausing, she looks back, catching the dimple that reeled her in the night before and smiles with the recollection of his warm breath on the small of her back Then Mia notices the ruffling of the pillows, the faint sight of life under the stained blankets. Don’t let him see you. A click of the door and her presence becomes a mere memory as the shock of sunlight pierces her heavy eyes. Don’t let them see you. Mia puts on her shades. Gucci? Check.

Change scene.

Location: Long Beach

Time: 3: 40pm

Camera pans view of a busy beach. Tanned flesh accompanies the raw sunshine.

Mia fumbles around for the lip gloss in the back of her Levis. Unscrewing the top off, she welcomes the cherry taste on the tip of her tongue while wiping away beads of perspiration from her forehead.. Her toes soak in the soft sand as she heads over to the girl in a polka dotted bikini. Smile.

Mia flips her shades down over her eyes and welcomes the dark hue that hides the harsh, unforgiving California Sun. She feels the tug of her hand in another. Smile harder. The flesh on flesh contact reminiscent of the lump under the duvet, she remembers the dimples and the charming smirk that came along with it.

Looking up, Mia is met with the wink of a familiar face; long lashes, white teeth, rosy cheeks, curly blond hair. She’s prettier than you.  “Where were you last night, I was calling and calling and like you never picked up. Now, who is he, what’s he like…” her mind no longer follows the flurry of words as she focuses on the flawlessness of the face in front of her, she feels the all too familiar seep of envy. Nod, smile. She’s prettier than you.

Change scene.

Location: Melrose Avenue

Time: 2:30pm

Camera spans the entrance of the store and runs along the array of shelves and racks of clothes. Pulsating House mix music plays on in the background.

(Sound of laughter trails…)

Mia sifts through the hangers of clothes on display, all the while glancing at anything else. Skank. Slut. Whore. Bitch. Plain-Jane. Every girl with a label slapped on. She wonders what hers is just when she catches a pretty girl in a floor length fuchsia gown. Envying her tanned skin and wispy curls, her eyes fixates on the pink wonder. Mia finds herself rubbing her exposed shoulder blades self-consciously as she heads to the fitting room.

Shutting the door behind her, she winces in the harsh fluorescent light and remembers just how much she hates the confines of the small space. Hurriedly, she squeezes into her weapon of choice; a sundress 2 sizes too small. In the corner of her eye, she catches every bulge, every clinch of skin. Fat. Opening the door, she peeks out, no one looks up. No one notices. Sliding her slim body through the gap, Mia walks, her eyes, cast downward. Ugly.

Cautiously looking up, she arches her back while running her hand up and down the sides of her freckled arms. The corner of her mouth twitches in a non-committal smile as she tries to ignore the all too familiar soundtrack of her life. Skank. Whore. Slut. The words now run across her reflection. Mia becomes aware of judging eyes and sucks in her tummy instinctively. Skank. Slut. Whore. Her cheeks grow hot. She rushes back into the small room, shuts the door behind her and sinks down to the floor while holding her head in her hands. Ugly.

Change scene

Location: Unknown

Time: Unknown

Congregation of people gather as Vicar reads from the Bible. Solemn church organ plays.

Mia eyes survey the crowd of people that have gathered. No colours. All dressed in black. Pink’s this season’s hottest colour.. She walks curiously along the aisle the sadness evident. Real girls don’t cry.

She notices her mum, her dad -everyone she’s ever met in her life. All in neat rows, faced frontward. Such order, such uniformity. She continues down the aisle toward the Vicar and glances at the blown up picture of herself. Her smile forced, her hair, not a strand out of place.

Then with a quick glance, she notices a huge box, perched for all to see. She stands before it, peers in. There, lying in complete reverie she sees herself. Such pale skin, terrible make up. That dress makes you look fat. The colour? So passé.

 (A tune floats through the room)

“Forget your troubles

C’mon get happy

You better chase all your cares away”

Such irony”, Mia thinks to herself. She walks back to the rows of people and brushes past her Mother, her tired, wrinkled eyes unmistakable. Her sobs drown the words of the Vicar as he goes on, over the music.

“C’mon get happy”

Now the voice purely mocking, a taunt that never goes away.

“C’mon get happy.”

The tears and sobs trudge on in spite of the music. Some frail voices follow in song before relenting to pure sorrow,

“C’mon get happy! C’mon get happy!”



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