Classified ad in search of a masquerade ball

My pimples were bigger than the other children. The worst was on my back, but my face was fucked up too. At the end of sixth grade I dropped out of school. My parents had supported me in my education, but I had decided to opt out. No truancy officer ever picked me up.

Father told me he was going to throw me out of the house. I knew he didn’t mean that literally, because he was only five foot six and by that point I had grown to six foot four and a half. I told him I would get a job.

I got a job at the Acme Super Store bagging groceries. One day an old lady kept looking at me weird. When I had my head in a paper grocery bag trying to take out an item she wanted bagged separately, I heard her whisper something to the cashier. I think she said, “Is he retarded?”

I ate a lot but I didn’t gain weight. I didn’t feel like reading because it took too long to process. I didn’t feel like watching television because that also took too long to process, because of the commercials. I watched the VHS tape for the Mask of Zorro hundreds of times. I would sit on the kitchen counter digging through a stash of candy mother had hidden. Each time I would return to eat the candy there seemed to be the same amount of candy as the last time I had taken from it. I was the only one eating candy. Mother said things off-hand to me about the candy when I was helping her clean dishes. I would not respond.

We had dinner one night with my aunt and uncle. Father would not allow me to eat the baklava that was dessert. “You need to watch your complexion,” he said.

My uncle said, “None of those young girls you bag groceries for will want to have children with you. The children would be scared of you. They’d be running around the house like zombies.”

I went to a dermatologist. He had plaques on the waiting room wall saying where he went to school. I wondered if he had duplicate plaques made for the other waiting room walls and for his office. Father was sitting there with me. When the dermatologist came in he asked him about acne and candy.

The dermatologist said, “Well, eating that stuff isn’t a good decision for your health, but studies have shown that eating sweets doesn’t cause acne.”

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