“Pictures in Paris” by Jessica Hollander

For pictures in Paris she stood in the street, I stood on the curb, neck strained, skinny arm around her uneven shoulders; and she still a giant, sloped and folded, shocking in that way between horse-like and glamour magazine.

I have trouble at weddings not being sarcastic. DID YOU APPROVE THIS PART ABOUT THE PRINCE WAS HE SENT TO RESCUE YOU ARE YOU THE ANGEL THAT FELL FROM THE SKY? I yell to the bride, who flushed, cannot stop smiling.

Years ago, she and I smiled for those postcard shots: we were here, we were here, in front of… She made demands we see the city. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to hate the waiter who knew, who avoided, who brought cold food. She folded her lips, greeted the window. But can’t I just be an American, is that allowed when I’m too tired to be anything else?

Now I stand to her left in black flats, a little girl in her wedding, jealous of my boyfriend in the parking lot with his book. I watch my friend laugh; she angles herself in her huge white dress.

But can’t we make fun of this a little? I have here in my purse beneath the tissue you gave me: a spike of meanness. Just take off the makeup, just turn off the camera, we’ll share it. But she can’t even see me wave from the sideline. She’s giant, puffed up. She still wants these shots. And I am stuck waiting, smiling for the click.

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