The Girl Next to Me

The Girl Next to Me


I know my own reflection.
I know the one in the mirror in the morning,
in the store windows just cleaned down Broadway,
in the selfies I never seem to stop taking
of my hungover face headed to work or class or the next bar.
But the face that never seems to leave my mind is that of the girl next to me.

The girl next to me only eats kale,
except when she eats whatever she wants and never gains a pound.
Hey legs are long and slim and toned and hairless
Collarbones pronounced, tits high and perky.

The girl next to me has naturally bright blonde hair
She doesn’t know what a root looks like.
She never burned her hair from straightening it within an inch of its life.
It brushes her face like a Pantene ad and she whisks it away.

The girl next to me has perfect skin.
Like a Glossier model she’s never known a pore or pimple or dark eye circle
She isn’t wearing any makeup except for a simply done eyeliner flick.
She has never had to worship at the altars of Sephora or Ulta.
She’ll never steal her friends concealer two shades too dark
to cover a blemish an hour before the first date.

The girl next to me is laughing at a bad joke.
She thinks puns are great and when she laughs it makes her abs tighten.
You can see them through the space between her crop top and tight black jeans,
all designer I presume.

The girl next to me has a kind boyfriend,
he’s funny and sweet and her dad loves him.
He’s from a long list of men who grovel at her feet.
Even my boyfriend can’t stop looking at her.

The girl next to me is soft and sensitive
No one makes her cry except those dog videos on Facebook
And when she does cry it makes her eyes glisten and her cheeks flush.
She has cried over the hearts she’s broken
But you want to dress her in Prada and throw her on a runway because she looks so good.

The girl next to me is nameless, nearly faceless
She is thousands of women on the street, on the subway, sitting next to me at the castings
as I fidget and stare and rip her to shreds with the words I keep just behind my lips
All I see is a combination of thousands of magazine photos burned in my mind.
She is Kate Moss and Grace Kelly and Angelina Jolie though a photoshopped lense.
She isn’t real.

I have always wanted to be the girl next to me.
Always wanted a bit more or a bit less of what I have been given.
And maybe it’s the magazines and the ads telling me I’ll look just like her, live just like her, love just like her on those beaches with that man staring deep into her eyes.
But I can’t stop looking either.

The girl next to me is looking at me.
And I’m the girl next to her.

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