Cynthia, A Portrait

She used to be in love with Justin, so much so that she told everyone that he hung out with her at parties that didn't exist. Parties that he would not have gone to even if they hadn't been figments of her imagination.

There was discussion of a book filled up with remembrances of their encounters.

She's a diarist without any paper.

She's without any partaking to ponder over.

Numerous times, lately, when I speak to her, I notice spilled food on her clothes. It's a smattering of white, dried on her chin. Or some flaky river dribbled onto the side of her shirt. It makes me think that she devours food like a lover.

Like she might have done to Justin, had he not been so anthropomorphic.

Once Justin and I watched a group of landscapers in the parking lot while they blew dried leaves around in Autumn, gathering them into piles. Do you think they jump in those piles when they're done? He asked me. I tell him that I don't know, though countering, point out that they take the leaves with them when they go, and that maybe they gather all of them into one big pile, and then jump in it. Maybe, he says, like they jump off a deck when they do it!

I imagine that he grew up in a house with a deck, though my imagination often gets the better of me.

Cynthia is well over 300 pounds, and just getting up to walk over to me causes her to become winded. We talk about riddles, and slang. Gossip with a shocked flamboyancy about the boy who walked through the parking lot, and pissed on the side of her car in open view of the street. How some of the other girls watched this, and told her, and how she crossed Andover during rush hour to the bus stop and asked if he had done it.

She tells me that he wore a yellow hoodie, and sat, red-faced.

She points out the puddle of urine on the concrete to me.

She'll say, almost pleadingly that she needs to get more exercise. And when I know she's not looking I watch her pull a water bottle to her mouth and drain pools across her teeth. I watch her spray old-style Binoca into her mouth from a squirt bottle while shooting the breeze with the man sitting beside her.

When she's not looking I watch how rolls of fat jut out across her pants, folding underneath the insignificant fold of her vagina. I don't look because I want to. Only, because I can't look away.

It annoys me, when mid-sentence she lets out a loud chiming sigh because she can't catch her breath. Or when she smiles all broken toothed waiting for my response.

I tell her none of these things.

We don't talk about Justin, or the imagery of self-possession. But we discuss almost everything else.