Beautiful Again


September 14, 2012 by The Citron Review

by Lalanii R. Grant


The moment I met Evan I knew we would fuck. We took Astrology together; he wanted to study aviation. “Make a wish,” he told me in the back seat of his old Camry. Stars dazzled through the open sunroof, then faded away.  I wished to be beautiful on nights with no visible moon.

I hadn’t dated in three years and I was cautious after losing my virginity at fifteen and giving birth to my son. Things he said after daily smoke sessions felt magical like “You’re a good mother.” Marijuana made Evan higher than planes, when he came down he landed in me. His complexion was cashew-colored and his eyes were wide and turquoise. One sniff of him was ripe with stale weed, faint dove soap, and popularity. Mornings I’d pass him at school and there he was, leaning against the balcony, the giddy girls laughing loudly—girlie attempts to grab his attention. He motioned for me to stand next to him without breaking eye contact. I fell for him the day he exclaimed to his buddies outside of class that I was a keeper. In the hallway, during our break, I heard him say, “She gotta nice ass, a pretty smile, and always come prepared fa’ class even if she talk through it.” I felt his friend Keegan’s eyes on my backside; confirmation he’d been talking about me. “Him and I, “ he’d said, “were the two people everyone at school wanted to be.” His confidence and cool water cologne was like a caffeine shot into each of my fingertips and toes. “Hey babe.” Evan reached for a hug. Moments like those made it seem unlikely I’d ever catch my breath again.

Six months later, he was my boyfriend and I planned to celebrate us.  Our lovemaking: I’d light the dust-covered candles. Afterwards, Mama’s leftover pot roast. Maxwell’s neo-soul music played melodically. Everything was perfect when Mama went out of town and my son was with family. Evan told me I was beautiful under moonlight. Stars did somersaults inside of me.

Evan is hours late to my house without a call. When he finally arrives, he is flighty and sweating. He dashes to the bathroom. When I hear the door close I snatch his phone and check the calls in his contact list, looking for answers. There is Kailey, Andrea, Crystal, and nine missed calls from me. Evan sees me and rushes out of the bathroom from behind, his cell phone still burning between my hands. I throw it at his chest as he steps closer to me. “What the fuck you in my phone for?” His orange pullover is dirty and his eyes are bloodshot.

“What the hell is going on?” I wail.

“None of your fuckin’ business.” His Timberland boots stomp around the room.

“I’ve been waiting since eight. Were you wit’ Crystal? Kailey?”

He throws me back on the bed, and I rise as he pushes me down again.

“Well, let’s just call some o’ these hoes an’ see, then.”

I rock my head back and forth pretending I’m bolder than I am. He pushes my head into the headboard. My son’s pacifier falls off the dresser. I squirm as he holds me down with his forearm across my neck. One swift punt to his shin. His hand reaches for his zipper.  He slaps open a pocketknife and presses it against my neck. I gasp. I am sorry now, pinned down, paralyzed in panic. With his other hand he takes his finger straight into my vagina. I scream, “I’m sorry” as the blade cuts the side of my cheek. My skirt zipper is broken. He thrashes inside of me. I whimper; his large hand is over my mouth. My face is turned to the side smashed into a pillow. I no longer fight back as I stare at the white swirled paint along the walls. Stunned with shock I shriek to get air. I shut my eyes. Tears slide backward into my hair. Across the room I stare at my son’s crib, the laundry basket with socks Mom tied together for me sits in its place softly. The carpet needs vacuuming. My wish is that I will stop breathing. My thigh is slashed in deep maroon. My body shakes in uncontrollable heaps. I touch my face. “Why?” I ask.

“Shit happens.” His eyes are wild. He slams the door behind him.

I slide off the corner of the blood soaked bed and throw up in the middle of the carpet. The smell of my blood forces me to throw up again. I crawl to the bathroom and run only hot water. Pulling myself up I step into the bath; one leg over as it shakes. My head leans against the basin. I close my eyes. When I open them the tub water is stained crimson. I sob for my mom, forgetting she’s drunk with her friends at a restaurant, miles away. I wrap a towel around me and limp to my bed. I slide the bloody blanket over me. I lay under ripped apart.

Mom came home two days after I’d washed the covers three times. I never told anyone. Evan was never seen in class after that. Our astrology professor told me “Evan’s mother passed away.” I called until one day his phone was disconnected.  I couldn’t believe it. I wanted him to call me beautiful again.


Lalanii R. Grant has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University with a dual concentration in nonfiction and poetry. Her poems have been featured in The Scrambler, and she also has an interview published in Poemeleon’s Literary Journal. She is Editor-In-Chief of Creative Confusion, a Writing Web Store that takes the confusion out of your writing projects, leaving only the creative.


8 thoughts on “Beautiful Again

  1. tishamarie says:

    Amazing revision! So proud. Painful reality in such beautiful (again) words.

  2. shaheed says:

    Wow, it seemed like everything was peaches and roses, a very cute story. Then out of no where it gets dark and ugly. But that’s the way life really is. I liked it though.

  3. Tina says:

    Powerful story, and outstanding editing. Congrats! Held my breath again as I read it. Wow.

  4. […] The moment I met Evan I knew we would fuck. We took Astrology together; he wanted to study aviation. “Make a wish,” he told me in the back seat of his old Camry. Stars dazzled through the open sunroof, then faded away.  I wished to be beautiful on nights with no visible moon. [Click here to read more] […]

  5. […] “Beautiful Again” my new nonfiction has been featured in The Citron Review (Throwback post: Non… […]

  6. […] it terrible that I want to stay home and write nonfiction, read books and blogs that inspire me, and attempt to draw designs as gorgeous as […]

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