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David Sapp

At Seventeen

     When we were seventeen, she confided in me (announced, really) that she possessed a single ovary, the twin a tragic disappearance, an infant abducted by wolves, a species succumbing to natural selection. This news seemed my test, a disclaimer pertaining to any expectation of offspring, as if her asymmetry might ruin my infatuation, as if I might hold her differently, a prejudice, a pity. At seventeen, I did not comprehend the relevance. Though just beneath her skin, her mysterious elements floated in a distant sea. In love, two arms, two legs offered plenty of affection.
    At seventeen, for me, only for me, she posed nearly nude in her panties with the tiny pink bow, reclining like an Ingres odalisque or a Renoir as she was rather pear-shaped. Contrary to her slight, mischievous smile, her pert, little breasts (two), her nipples (two), pointing, wagging fingers, admonished my gaze: lewd or adoring. The latter, I swear it so! though desire (or the thrill of being desired) was my anticipation.
    At seventeen, we aimed at a cliché, impersonating the bohemian, playing at our scenario of artist and model: a girl, a Venus, a Madonna on occasion, beauty, drawn on paper, replicated on canvas. Too naïve, we were astonished by the lesson, a shift of focus from eros to aesthetics. We fooled around – eventually, tenderly. However, line, shade, likeness were our symmetrical passions. And in this revelation, at seventeen, we expressed a synchronous imprinting, inscribed an enduring image, in art and intimacy.
    When we were twenty, she called out of the blue. I was home from art school. She stayed behind in our home town, on main street creating arrangements for William’s Flower Shop. In her trailer, she talked of watching softball games on warm, summer evenings; enrolling in nursing classes; and the loneliness of living alone. Once more she opened her robe for me, only for me. I saw her last in a wedding picture in the paper. With this nice fellow from Fredericktown, she would conceive three or four kids. I was happy to hear her single ovary seemed to manage just fine.

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