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ATM

Tell me what you think, she said.

From the archives, about 1 year ago.

It was 9:20PM; I was in the bank getting out $100 from the machine. A man and woman were with me under the fluorescence, the man making out a deposit slip.

The woman showed the man her foot in a sandal, and said, "Look at my toe, how it bends. Isn't that disgusting?"

"You're really brave showing me your flaws," he said.

I swiped my card against their brief silence.

"Well, don't hold back," she spit out, "how many flaws do I have?"

"I didn't say you had any flaws, you--"

"Flaws. You said. I was just showing you my toe."

In his voice, you could hear that he hated the toe, that he had noticed it many times and kept his counsel.

He said, "I meant imperfections. I never said flaws."

I punched in my PIN.

"You said flaws," she said, voice ascending. My machine said, beep beep beep squee beep. I struck my head against the plastic lightbox with the bank logo, chunka clunk. They didn't hear.

"No, not flaws, I meant imperfections."

She paused. "What else do you hate about me?"

To hell with you both, I thought.

"Hate? What?" he said, his mouth moving slowly.

"You hate my feet, is there anything else wrong?"

"Nothing, I don't hate anything. Everyone has imperfections."

She had scored a victory--she had said "you hate my feet," not "you hate my toe," and dug him in deeper.

The roller spun and I pulled out 5 20's, 2 new ones and 3 old ones, and walked out, giving them a sneer.

All he had to do was lie, and say that he liked the toe, that any slight imperfection simply made her more human--because otherwise she'd be just too beautiful.

That's what she wanted when she showed it to him, to be told she is the gorgeous angel of her fantasies, despite the toe, or the extra pounds, or the crooked nose. Can a women be happy if she doesn't look like a magazine, or someone tells her she does? Men have other vanities just as base.

Perhaps she just wanted the fight, or else she forgave him and they are now home in Manhattan making love. Are these the things you do when you are with someone and it is boring, and neither of you is particularly attractive, or even if both of you are?


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