by Riya Jay Soyantar
In Merseyside, Liverpool
I went to the Chemist’s
for my psoriasis cream and the morning-after pill
I held my cream, sat down and waited in the yellowish corridor
for the lady pharmacist to call my name.
It was winter. It never snowed.
I saw her in the aisle that carried the wax strips, plastic razors, epilators
which collected a particular sort of shopper; this woman by the shaving lotions
who who knew how to hold her body right, like it’s been lunging, drinking, loving,
made of vodka-crans- complex, pearlescent, relevant; like it's been to Ibiza.
My favourite-the woman different from me.
She walked over and sat down next to me. I fiddled with my arm hairs, awkwardly,
to feel my way out of things. I was alone. I didn’t want to be alone.
I read the Cosmo in the sofa pocket and studied it: long women in glossy pools,
fat women fondling sharp shoes, the Olsen twins, women like her, the columns
of sex confessionals,
“He’s wasting me….....”
“I’m in love.”
“I want soft bread and to be spit on……”
“....I’m afraid…..doggy style makes me feel like a piggy bank.”
I liked the women in the magazine.
This how I wanted her to see me;
poreless, walking on a runway, well-lit.
I felt capable of anything and saw myself.
But, what was she looking at?
She studied the tub of psoriasis cream in my hands
and asked if it might work for her.
I wasn't really alone.