The Willowman

He was the perfect nothing. A young man, handsome, clean face, slender as a willow twig. This man had grown to flawlessness with nothing inside to show for it. No scars, no journeys. He had never been attacked by the wild, never been kissed by the wrong woman, never been savaged by night shifts. He was uncracked by life, somehow, and he was so much lesser and he was young and he was better.

And I, with my weariness, my dimples and callouses, my beard, my dry skin, lips, eyes. Wind-whipped by a whirlwind world. Aged. A body well lived in. I had stories, my body had stories, and my stories were ugly ones. He had no stories. He was department store parchment, never purchased, never used. What artist could resist?

Muscles required scars, an infinite layering. Beards penetrated out of the skin. Wrinkles and weary bones were earned. And manliness was this, and it was never saying these words to her. Manliness, as ever, had no voice.

She would be with him. This willowman, twenty years old yet if you cut him open there would be no rings to count. The winds of life forked around him. He was a miracle of zero.

She was a woman who painted with scars and wrinkles and shades of red. I was her work of art. And she needed a new canvas.



Day 149’s three random writing prompt categories were, “Younger, better model,” “Manly,” and, “A miracle of zero.”

– H.


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