I am beautiful, and my beauty, my singular perfection, the superb way in which each of my features manifests itself from my clear green eyes to my pale, translucent skin as smooth as the skin of a nectarine, my grace, my elegance, my loveliness, my flawlessness, bores me. I possess no deep, dark secrets, and no unsavory elements of my personality that may cause difficulties or dramas in my relationships with others. I am not shy, closed-off, overly serious, jealous, emotional, or scared to show my feelings. Nothing about me is interesting; at night, I lie in bed, my yellow hair falling across my shoulders, and wish for a flaw. A scar. An accident. A near-death experience. Something. But it never comes.

I lost only the boy I ever loved because of my perfection. We met one morning while I was on my way to school. It was a beautiful day in April, the sun warm on my face, but not too warm; a cool breeze in the air, but not too cool. I caught him looking at my ankles and bought a paper from him, and because I was confident and had had only healthy and age-appropriate relationships with boys, I asked him his name.

"Call me Race, Miss, if you wanna call me anything."

"My name is Eugenia."

He called me Genie. We met that afternoon for lunch; we both had egg salad sandwiches. His whole person was a mass of tics, imperfections, idiosyncrasies, and lies. He was shorter than me by a good two inches, when a boy is meant to be tall and fine; he had none of the musk and sweat a loveris meant to have. He smelled of cigar smoke and Blumenthal's Violet Hair Oil, he refused say he loved me, and he was unfaithful. He pawned the gifts I gave him and gambled the money away. We made love in the afternoon in a flop house and he gave me the clap. I loved him more than I've ever loved anyone else, and I think he loved me too; the way he called me by my name sometimes, said "Genie" like a prayer, made my heart hurt. So it was even more painful, I think, when he told me he was going with another girl, and didn't want to see me anymore.

"Who is she?" I asked him, a single tear rolling down my cheek. We were in the restaurant where we first ate lunch together; I cried beautifully.

"No one you know," he said, as if that made it better. "She works in one of the factories."

"Well, what's her name, then? At least tell me her name."

"We call her…Knuckles," he said dreamily, his eyes misting over. "No one knows her real name." Suddenly, the bells on the door jingled, and a girl stalked in. "Knuckles!" the only boy I had ever loved cried.

Knuckles stomped over to the table and stood next to Racetrack, who put his arm around her waist and smiled amiably. "Knuckles," he said, "this is Eugenia."

"Hello," I said politely, not one to let my own hurt feelings get in the way of treating this girl with decency and respect.

"Howyeh," she said, looking at me sullenly. She was skinny and sallow, her hair a dull brown bird's nest, her clothes covered with soot. She picked a scab from her elbow. "Race, ya mind if I wait outside? I don' wanna hang aroun' this whore."

"Oh, sure, I'll be right out," he said, and Knuckles stomped off. He turned, and looked at me seriously. "Knuckles has been through a lot. Her father used to beat on her; when she was thirteen, she was raped by her best friend. I also think she might have tuberculosis, or a very bad cold."

I couldn't hold it back any longer. I dissolved into tears, and set my head down on the table. "We can't all have abusive parents, Race!"


"Genie! Remember when you used to call me Genie!"

"Genie…I can't help it, can I? I mean, we had fun, right? But Knuckles…she means something to me. I feel like…like once I get past that tough exterior…once she lets me in her heart, and lets me love her…"

I stared at him, not even believing that he was talking in such a way. Since when did he say things like that?

"Genie…" he sighed.

"I let you in my heart."

"Genie…Eugenia. It's over. Move on. I know you'll do fine. But right now…Knuckles needs me." And with that, he left. He didn't even pay the check.

And the worst part of it? I couldn't even stay wounded for very long. Oh, I tried. I cried every morning and said 'I will never love again' and refused food. But within a week I was glad to be alive, my appetite returned, and I ate a breakfast of hot rolls and milk and went for a long walk in Central Park. The sky was blue, but not too blue; the grass was wet, but not too wet. I had never been more miserable about being happy in my entire life.


Author's Note: DALTON: This was written in a burst of inspiration when Dakki was supposed to be analyzing Candide. Leave the best of all possible reviews; because senior year is hard.