The Model
by Thomas Simmons

Hey I'm really sorry it took me so long to get here there was a whole bunch of traffic around the hospital apparently the president's in town? I had to take some long stupid windy way through midtown and you know five o'clock on a Tuesday you know how that goes

Yeah, yeah, mom's doing fine As fine as she's going to I mean I'm impressed with how she's doing and I think the fact that I got over so quickly helped make her feel better

Yeah she's staying overnight at the hospice with him they got her a pillow and stuff the staff seems really sweet and my brother thinks they're good too and for sure yeah he's the one who should know

I just


I'll be ok, we've been preparing for this

It comes in waves you know?

Like a train that runs through my intestine, all the way up and out my throat

It fills up and I'm sort of like frozen for a minute before I get back to normal

They say a week tops yeah

It hasn't been as hard to see him as you'd think, thank God

This last job it was over in Europe but my agent made sure that they knew before the shoot I might need to leave unexpectedly And now that I've been doing this for a while I have a little more clout you know?

Ha yeah swing those balls sure

Part of me was like when I got the text from my brother Jeff part of me was like They're gonna give me shit for leaving but when I told them it was fine or at least they acted like it was fine I don't know

And even if it actually wasn't fine they can go fuck themselves they care about their precious little dresses more than people anyway why should they deserve an ounce of my respect
Well, ha, well yeah, burnt out to say the least

It's just I never really wanted this life I never expected this life I never thought this would ever happen to me never in a million years I never thought I was pretty enough I always thought I looked so mousy and me and my Betty and Veronica comics and my lame little doodles

Oh give me a break look at these ears and these incisors Jeff used to call me Fievel growing up

But then I get this height and my metabolism and my God the makeup Who gives a fuck what you really look like There are pictures of me in catalogs I can't even recognize myself

And the first few months it's Heaven you know? Absolute Heaven strutting your stuff and all those eyes on you everywhere like the center of attention and you know it's because of something other people a natural organic thing other people don't have

The eyes felt like they felt reverent or something like they were looking up at you on that runway an angel on a pedestal visiting looking down on mortals ha Idunno I was dumb

No you don't have to disagree it's totally stupid I'm totally ok with knowing I was naïve back then, it doesn't bother me

All these photographers showering me with praise in broken English, ha, ugh

And then

And then Idunno, and then it's all these things All these things to remind me that this isn't what I wanted in the first place

Dinners parties with ugly tiny silver haired lechers looking me up and down like I'm their fucking slave because they make overpriced shit to drape on impossible bodies like mine

And cocky fucking actors smirking at me the same smirk you know they practiced hours on end in their bathroom mirror self-absorbed mannequins because I'm supposed to be sooo excited to finally meet them Oh I loved you in that action movie sequel I totally paid money to see that mindless shit

And the other girls a bunch of attention-grubbing theatre majors never pick up a book or a check or a car door or anything only fucking designer pocketbooks Playing a stupid smug game the pretend I'm better than everyone because of my cheekbones game ugh fucking

I just needed to get this off my chest

I was thinking about it the whole plane ride

And then there's me Sorry I like the Dune series Sorry I get a kick out of old Betty Boop cartoons Sorry that I don't care that my salmon was braised with walnut jizzum or whatever 

Sorry that Nancy Drew still fucking rules even after all these years

Sorry about being my own person sorry I can't act the way they expect me to act on set when I'm off it

And God God I know I shouldn't care what other people think but I know what people think about models I know they think I'm another one of those self-absorbed ditzes I know

And I know it shouldn't bother me but it does because it's not fair How do you judge a person like that How do you make such wild accusations without ever meeting them or talking to them
And you think my job is easy? And yours isn't? I've worked an office job I know what kind of fucking joke it is

So why do I get all the blame?

And yes yes I fucking know I'm participating in a toxic industry for girls and labor laws and all that but holy shit don't you work in a fucking Walmart don't you pay taxes so an 18 year old kid can kill another 18 year old kid just like everyone else didn't you cheat on your husband how can you be so innocent and I so guilty you know?

Poor Jeff Poor Jeff I can only imagine what his friends say about me to him too

Poor Jeff

But it's good money That's it It's good money That's the only reason I'm still doing it

I figure I got two more years of this before I can stop and like retire from it all ha it sounds funny saying it but I mean that's the reason I'm still doing it anyway the easy cash And unlike the rest of the girls I'm not blowing my paychecks away on Christian Dior swimming pools

Before dad got sick he helped me get together a pretty decent portfolio In five months interest alone'll provide me with a six figure annual income

That's the one thing he always took pride in he loved to read Fortune magazine and all that stuff he likes the security of money I guess

And now I might never have to work after the age of 30

Good old dad

I'm gonna miss him

We'll be ok

So long as Jeff has his residence in the Bronx I know he'll be around to take care of mom while I'm on the road for just a little longer

Mom'll be fine Our maternal bloodline is like insane My nanny's 85 next month she looks 70 honest to God

So there's that

You know what I'm gonna do too?

What I want to do? When I quit?

I had this dream since I was ten ever since we took a vacation out to our friend's beach house on the North shore

I want to get a small little house in Montauk or something right on the beach A little cottage of my own Like the one in Matilda

And in the mornings I'll make myself a cup of coffee or tea and some toast and I'll read the news and comics and do the crossword or as much of it as possible ha

And after that depending on the weather I'll either sit outside on a chair on the beach and just look at the sound and maybe do some reading or listen to music inside while cozying up on a big comfy green couch

Sometime in the afternoon drive into town to the cafe to work on a graphic novel You know me and my comics heh

Get dinner at a restaurant before driving back home

And maybe you come over, or someone else

And we drink wine and listen to music and play scrabble and talk and laugh and I'd show you the progress I made on my graphic novel and you show me some of the plays you're working on We offer each other useful and intelligent advice

Start a small press Invest in a small theatre for your plays

Maybe I get a dog at some point and be ok with things and just I dunno be happy

Maybe travel places

You think I'd've traveled already but it's all those stupid fucking parties That's not traveling

Maybe a little garden, Maybe a little boat, We could go tubing ha


Yeah I think it'll be worth it don't you?

Just think about it

Two more years of putting up with my venting and then Bam!

Easy street

Not a care in the world

So, so close, God

- - - - - - - - 

Forthcoming book: Ways I Could Be Living (Pen and Anvil Press)
Additional work:


Alana Noel Voth said…
XO. I can hardly see the words though. I'm OLD.

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