Put a Picture of You On My Wall

BY Megan Giddings

It seems like every girl in this town is an incredible dresser. Their glasses are always the perfect shade of green to make their eyes pop. They are always wearing polka-dotted fur coats that should make them look like successful Cruella DeVilles, but instead make them look like a dictionary illustration of the word “chic.” It’s not that this city makes me extra invisible, but it does make me feel as if I’m living a year behind everyone else.
     The night before Halloween, I am sitting alone on a bench listening to a song filled with horns and a singer with a voice like someone trying to tell a secret underwater. I can’t tell if the song is beautiful or different for the sake of being different. The bench is cold through my skirt, but the air smells like bonfires. And my apartment is still empty enough to make me wonder if I should move back home. Then a girl makes eye contact with me and smiles in a we-should-be-friends way. It’s the kind of look I haven’t seen on a not-drunk person’s face since elementary school. I wish I knew what it is—my headphones, the fact I’m sitting alone listening to music in public, my hair—that makes her give me that look. She lights a cigarette, smiles around it one more time, and walks off before I can take my headphones off. Like something spooked her.
     Tomorrow, I’ll buy a dress and matching coat in neon orange with a camouflage pattern. I’ll write a handful of notes about the qualities I’ll bring to a friendship. The ability to love someone more each time she lets a weird thought slip out, the desire to stay up all night watching a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air marathon while eating chocolate and gossiping, a promise to never make a photocopy friend, a girl so similar that it seems as if I need a legion of back-up friends. I’ll wrap these notes around arrows. Stow the arrows and a bow around my backpack. Make a salt lick of cool music and hope my new friend appears. When I see her, I’ll shoot straight and smooth. Hold my breath and pray not to miss.


Megan Giddings is a recent graduate of Indiana University's MFA program and co-Fiction Editor of The Offing. She has work forthcoming or that has been recently published in Arts & Letters, Best Small Fictions 2016, Black Warrior Review, and Pleiades. This story is a part of Split Series Volume 3 (The Lettered Streets Press). That chapbook can be pre-ordered here. Her website is www.megangiddings.com.