She Is…Isn’t She?

In 2019

“Have you ever taken a truly lurid photo?” asks Michael.

“Yes. While I was first with my ex-husband.”

“What happened to those photos?” asks Michael.

Lacey smiles. “I bet they either don’t exist anymore or they’re somewhere on some old camera in some storage spot in the basement.”

He looks serious. “I want them.”

“I see. Well, you could look in the basement.”

“Where would they be?”

“On a camera. Or on an old computer. They were never printed out.”

“He never saved them to his phone?” Michael asks.

“No.” Lacey hides some sadness. “He had other girls’ naked photos supposedly accidentally saved to his phone. But never me in any way like that.” She smiles. “I sent him fully dressed photos that showed my shoulders.” She laughs at herself.

“I’d have taken my own photos.” Michael smiles. “I bet you’ve had men ask/offer to do that before?”

“Yes. Once.”

He nods. “And you turned him down?”

“Yes.”

“Who took the photos on the camera?!” he suddenly realizes.

“Oh! You’re right. That was my ex. But somehow I think what you’re suggesting is a bit different.”

“It is. He just snapped the camera. He didn’t capture your actual image, as far as I’m concerned.”

This spring

“Do you suppose the photo above is risqué?”

“Because of the faint triangle of possible cleavage?” he erupts in laughter.

“Yes.”

“Mmm. …It’s not risqué. It’s accidental anyway. …It’s vaguely sexual. Because you don’t look like you mean it. It looks more half aware and sleepy than anything.”

2011

“This one is sexual. But only because he’s sneaking up on you to take it. It’s intimate.”

2019

“This one makes me laugh.” he says.

“Why?”

“Because I know you think you look hideous here.” He pauses. “This was right after you gave birth? Isn’t it?”

“Yes. I was trying to do a sartorial pose for Instagram, but it looked too sexual for my liking and my clothes are all messed-up so I didn’t post it.”

“You don’t need to gain weight. But you don’t look hideous.”

“I thought I looked okay, but I hate being heavier. I just hate it.”

“You gain weight during pregnancy…” he nods his head quickly. Then he smiles.

“I do.”

“You don’t look hideous. I’ve watched.”

“So have I.” says Lem.

“My body is so fragile.” says Lacey. “I love hiking and skiing and working hard around the house or garden. But golly…that’s my biggest complaint about being me. I love my body unconditionally, but I do think that’s my mortality.”

Michael looks at her.

“What do you mean?”

“I’m not a physically tough person. I can handle pain. I can be incredibly stoic when I want to be. But I’m fairly delicate, really.”

He smiles.

“If I captured that on film I wouldn’t share it with anyone.”

“You should take better care of yourself, Lacey.” says Lem. “Really!”

…”I should.”