—after Jillian Weise
Q: How old was I anyway when you had me smashed to pieces—my cilia, my septum, my nares, my vestibules, my bridge?
A: Just 16.
Q: I filtered the air for you, I smelled cheese pizza and Hershey’s kisses for you, I moistened, I air-conditioned, I cleaned out foreign debris. Why did you hate me?
A: I was young. It was the thing to do. That little bump on top bothered me. Assimilation was tacitly understood. In my defense, do you remember Bobbi Glick, Marcy Leiser, Jodi Weisberg, or my cousin Marian? The popular girls all did it.
Q. But your boyfriend Ron liked me and tried to talk you out of it. I made you look distinctive, he said, not like everyone else.
A: I thought he’d like me even more. I thought everyone would like me more. I thought I’d like myself more.
Q: Why did you skip out of town for this?
A: My mother booked the best doctor in Beverly Hills. Known for his pure profiles, no artificially stretched skin. Nothing pug like a Pekinese, the way some girls turned out.
Q: The last thing I remember was inhaling that sickly-sweet smell. After that I was toast. I heard you were black and blue and bloodshot for days after in that hotel room.
A: Yes, all true. My mother applied cold compress after cold compress. My eyes were Zombies.
Q: Can you say plastic surgery got you what you wanted?
A: In college I could pass. The WASP sororities all wanted me. But then Theta found out I was Jewish and wouldn’t take me. I never knew how they knew. But Kappa Kappa Gamma chose me! Kappa was la plus ultra! All Mainline. Private schools. Gold circle pins. Pappagallos. Eye candy. Can you understand? Candice Bergen was my sorority sister! And the boys . . . everyone in SAE wanted to date me!
Q: Am I supposed to feel happy for you?
A: I dropped out of Kappa after two years. I wasn’t like them after all.
Q: Don’t you feel like you’ve abandoned your tribe? Who you are?
A: My family wanted to be only a little Jewish. So it wouldn’t show. So we wouldn’t stick out.
A: My mother was blond and had a cute little button nose.
Q: Have you forgiven yourself?
A: I want the rabbit to live, but the hunger of the hawk is always turning inside me.