The Ass End

Livia Smuckler’s father shot himself in the head when she was two and her mother died of alcoholism when she was twelve. She lived with her grandmother in a small house at the ass end of the Valley. She developed earlier than any of the other girls in school. She was a natural blonde but dyed her hair jet black. She was short but had long legs. She had a doll’s face but constantly talked a blue streak. She asked me if I wanted to go out with her in 9th grade. During lunch we would kiss at the bottom of the stairwell leading to the natatorium. Our school was private and she was one of only three kids there on scholarship. A group of girls cornered me in the hall one day and told me I should stop going out with Livia because she was a slut. They told me she had given blow jobs to half the boys in the junior class. They told me she already had a boyfriend, an older black man who worked as a line cook at Charlie O’s Restaurant. I told them I didn’t care. I told them I already knew everything they were telling me. One of the girls said, So you don’t mind that you’re going out with a slut, and I said, No, that’s why I’m going out with her, because she’s a slut. The girls didn’t know what to do with this information. Most of them never talked to me again. A couple of older boys came up to me at lunch and told me they had had a really good time with Livia and that they wanted to let me know that they were probably going to hook up with her again sometime in the near future. One of the older boys, who graduated a year early and went to the University of Chicago to study economics, called me a word I had never heard before, a “cuckold.” I acted as if I understood what the word meant. Livia never mentioned all the other guys and I never asked. Right before the end of the school year she started drinking heavily and gained some weight, so I broke up with her. I told her I couldn’t go out with her if she was fat. I said I didn’t mind going out with a slut, but a fat slut was out of the question. She lost weight over the summer and showed up for the beginning of our sophomore year looking better than ever. There was a rumor going around that she was dating a guy who won third place in the last Mr. Olympia competition. I asked Livia if she wanted to go out with me again. I told her I was sorry for what I had said but she wouldn’t forgive me. I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately because a few months ago I was watching a television show and one of the actresses was a dead ringer for Livia. For a moment I thought it was her, but then I found out it wasn’t, unless Livia changed her name, which is a possibility. I should probably stop thinking about her so much, but right now I can’t think of anything else. There’s not a lot to do around here in the burn ward.

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