SmokeLong Quarterly

Share This f l Translate this page

What You Sold Online

Story by Sarah Moesta (Read author interview) March 25, 2014

art by Laurie Sloat Silverstein

I helped you take the picture just last week. The pink sweater was a good choice, because it made your eyes look bright.

“Bring your hair in front,” I told you, “so they can’t see how wide your shoulders are.”

You pretended you were going to slap me, raising those big hands with the smooth skin, but I knew you’d never actually do it. And besides, I like your shoulders.

You wore the necklace Dad bought you to draw the eyes to your chest, which is frankly underwhelming considering the size of your shoulders, but I suppose any chest at all is alluring when you’re showing the right guys, which you are. Maybe that’s why Dad bought it for you in the first place. It probably is. He probably likes having the excuse, something to pretend he’s looking at. Sometimes I imagine him inching closer to ladies shopping at the jewelry counters in the mall, smiling in that warm way of his and asking, if they wouldn’t mind terribly, if he might hold a necklace or two up to them: they have the same beautiful bone structure as his daughter—the beautiful one being you, of course. The way his eyes may glint as he holds a shining piece of metal shaped like a heart or a cross just over the plunge of some hot younger girl’s cleavage, and the way she might blush, mistaking his attention for a compliment. You, of course, know better.

“Have you really never done it?” I asked you as you tried on different poses the way you’d tried on sweaters and tank tops just an hour before.

“Never.” Your eyes didn’t leave the lens of my camera and for some reason I felt lonely, but I guess I almost always feel lonely when I’m with you.

And I guess I felt a little ashamed, too. You’re three years older than me, and I’ve already done it. I know I haven’t told you that, but I always felt like you knew. I felt like you were there when it happened, making fun of me for picking Tom, the guy with the baby-fine moustache who wore Velcro sneakers until eighth grade, just one year before we did it. I could almost hear you snorting at the clumsy way he kissed my neck, his braces snagging at my skin and leaving a very unsexy rash; that you’d laugh even harder if you saw that it gave me chills anyway. The thing itself only lasted for a few minutes, and Tom’s eyes got all glazed over and moony when it was done. He rested his head on my chest and I had the feeling that I’d missed something. And I guess I felt pretty lonely with him, too, which sucked, because I kind of liked him.

I never knew that maybe I’d be able to make money off it. Sometimes I wonder if I should have saved it for the thousands of dollars I know you’ll be making off yours pretty soon. The other night, I was trying to fall asleep, and I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe yours is worth so much because you’re going to be better at it than I was when I did it, and then maybe that’s why Tom doesn’t talk to me anymore and why we don’t even look at each other in the hallways at school and why I saw him holding hands with some other girl, pale and blonde with long legs. Maybe she’s worth thousands, too. I’ve always known you were. I just never thought that meant that I wasn’t.

About the Author

Sarah Moesta is a graduate student studying creative writing at the Pennsylvania State University.

About the Artist

Laurie Sloat Silverstein received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh oh so many years ago. She now lives near Philly and is still deciding what she wants to be when she grows up.

This story appeared in Issue Forty-Three of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Forty-Three

Support SmokeLong Quarterly

Your donation helps writers and artists get paid for their work. If you’re enjoying what you read here, please consider donating to SmokeLong Quarterly today.

High Intensity Interval Training for Flash Writers with Ingrid Jendrzejewski

Book Now!

Bring a pen, lots of paper, and your water bottle: this is a high-intensity guided-writing work-out designed to kickstart creativity, and push you into new territory, and exercise flash muscles you didn’t even know you had.

Maybe you’re stuck in a story and looking for a way to proceed.  Maybe you’re looking to generate new ideas.  Maybe your inner editor is holding you back.  Maybe you’re in a rut or have writers’ block or are just wanting to shake things up a bit.  This session is designed to tackle all these issues and help you level up your flash fitness.  Writers of all backgrounds and experience levels warmly welcome; come along, roll up your sleeves, and trust the process.