Magazine Boy

By: Ashley Kurth


He smelled like cologne straight out of the magazines. His fingertips so sharp, every touch left me with papercuts. Out of all the options lying out on the shelves I chose him. He asked me why. I told him that it was because his cover was interesting. Interesting enough that I was willing to take him home with me without knowing any of the stories that lied within him. I licked my fingertips before the turn of each page, giving myself a grip on all the secrets hidden between the corners of his pages. 

He was flawless, every inch of him was what every girl aspired to be able to hold. It was like he was photoshopped, a figment of my imagination. Too good to be true, I took him back to the place we met. I handed him to the cashier and she handed him right back. 

“You can’t return what’s already been used,” she claimed. “Especially not someone like him. Those kinds of men will follow you wherever you go, and not because they fancy you; because they want to remind you every second of the rest of your days that you were willing to give someone like them up.” 

Within him were broken promises, advertisements that could easily be proven false. He tells me he’s going to do one thing, and then ends up doing something completely different. I was promised white-sand beaches and sips of wine at the edge of the Carribeans. Instead, I got half-kisses and a hotel room for one.

People told me to snap out of it. To put him down and take a step back into reality. To stop fantasizing over a guy who would never acknowledge my existence. Not here, not now, not ever. Perhaps in another life our souls would collide, but for now he was nothing but an image plastered on the cover of my heart. A substitute until I found him out in the real world.

His pages were filled not only with secrets, but with images of the most attractive girls to ever walk the face of the earth. Would a guy like him ever consider looking my way? What if I sat him down and told him his entire life story. From the exact time he was born all the way to his  favorite guilty pleasure show to tune into on Sunday nights.

I studied him for years, in hopes that one day we’d cross paths and by then I would’ve known exactly what he was looking for in a woman. 

I’d punch myself in the face until my eyes were as dark as the night sky he took all his other women stargazing under. I’d ask my mother to tighten the strings of my corset in hopes that the less I could breathe, the tinier my waist would get. Tinier than the waists of the models that lurked on his pages.

Every time I shut him close the only thought that came to mind was of his body pressed against someone else’s. Someone who wasn’t me. I wanted to rip those girls off of him, but I knew that he wouldn’t be pleased. That by taking them away I would also be taking away a piece of my magazine boy.

I’d bury him under my pillows each night and rest my head atop his chest. The scent of his cologne was getting weaker and weaker, but the memories of us that I’d script in my dreams evolved more and more each night.

I’d whisper sweet thoughts to him and he’d whisper sweet lies right back. Sometimes I’d be the only one talking, and he would play the role of the listener. Someone who was there to catch my tears and suck them dry.

I loved him, but he never loved me back, for what the lady at the cashier said was true. I would spend the rest of my days regretting ever thinking of letting a man like him go. It would haunt me forever, and the only piece I’d have left of him to hold was in a paper copy. 

Could I not comprehend how lucky I was to possess such a man? Perhaps it was because he was never a man, nor was he a child. He was just a boy; my magazine boy.