for girls and befriends them. Shows them, gently,
what she is wearing. Pearls of grief and the fine-spun
veils of patience.–With young men she walks
– Rilke, Duino Elegies
All the sad girls always bring pictures to the parties: pictures of nieces and nephews, pictures of neighbors’ gardens, pictures of their cats dressed up for Halloween–cats as bats, cats as monkeys, cats as Little Bo Peep without any sheep. Cats as anything but cats. All the sad girls dress up as cats for Halloween.
All the sad girls sit alone in theaters and parks. It takes the sad girls years to work up the courage to sit alone in restaurants, and when they do, they bring a book. The sad girls like to read Rilke and Kafka and Hemingway because their wounded words remind the sad girls of the troubled men they love.
All the sad girls always love the troubled men. Orphaned men, widowed men, pull-up-a-chair-and-drink-away-their-troubles men. Men who are anything but men. All the sad girls feel more like women for loving the troubled men.
The troubled men say they love the sad girls back, but they don’t. They love the simple girls, the feckless girls, the forever-twenty-one-or-more-like-fifteen girls. The sad girls can never become this, so instead, they sink as low as they can go to make the troubled men love them. But low is never low enough. In the end, the sad girls still go to the parties alone.
All the sad girls feel the need to justify their existence to strangers on the subway. When old women–okay, all women–sit beside them, they feel the need to explain their naked left fingers. To old men–only old men–they feel the need to lament that men today aren’t like they used to be.
All the sad girls, alone again, find themselves wishing they could be like the simple girls. They wonder if being a simple girl isn’t the only way to get a man. They wonder if the troubled men stay with the simple girls because it lets them forget their troubles, when the sad girls only remind them.
All the sad girls hate jealousy almost as much as they hate pity. They hate when the married women tell them how they envy the sad girls’ freedom. It makes the sad girls want to break their empty Goodwill vases over the married women’s heads.
All the sad girls want their couches back. And their beds. And their chairs. And for that matter, their floors. They want the mountains back and the rivers back and the names of their resident cities back. They want to be able to walk down the streets without having to avoid a single one.
All the sad girls are sick to death of words like “should” and “would” and “maybe.” They’re sick of hosts and parasites and unbalanced symbiosis. The sad girls have had enough of feeling like what they want is too much.
All the sad girls want espresso back, too. They want goat cheese, roasted tomato, and cornmeal crust pizza back. They also want all forms of chocolate back.
All the sad girls will stop going to the parties. They will stop sinking down. They will sit alone on the subway, reading Tolstoy or Dostoevsky. They will be serious and Russian and mind their own business, until someone stands beside them and makes them look up.