“Sample only” says the sticker on my price tag. “ No trade ins welcome” hangs in the storefront window. I hang there, waiting.

Perhaps today I’ll be special floats through my mind, then the hanger, pinches my shoulder. I feign rusty protest and righteous indignation at the obvious misunderstanding, and swing, just a little. As if to convince myself of my actual existence.

 

Little bells hanging on the tired string stapled to the top of the door, tinkled, as the pretty girl walked in. Her nails are clean and painted, her hair, perfect.

 

Somebody loves her, I thought, then hung my head in shame.

I struggle to turn myself around, on the rack, off the rack. I need to be out of view. Even though, I knew in the base of my burning throat, that mine is not the rack a girl like that notices. Mine is the rack pushed into the very back of the store. The one in the far away corner, the one people hang the unwanted items that just didn’t fit right in the dressing room on.

I peek out of the corner of my eye only to be smothered in the vision of her freshly shaven ankle walking towards me.

 

“Pedicure”

 

I say this to myself and for a moment I think I will open my mouth and scream...

 

 “I can be pretty too!”

 

But the time to tell the truth is not now, maybe tomorrow. Besides, I don't really believe that.

A tiny child comes running into me and pulls my scarred arm, over her face, to hide. Her mother yells her name, and she giggles.

 

I can feel her breath on my skin, and swallow the smell of her shampooed hair, she giggles, again.

 

Somebody loves her I thought, and my head fell once again, in shame.

Suddenly a hand slaps me in the face as “mother” reaches by me to retrieve her belligerent offspring. 

 

I whispered...

 

“Throw away your rotten children, they’re too young to notice anyway.”

 

Frightened, she looked right at me.

 

“Who’s there?” she said. 

 

Silence... I stared right at her, and quietly said...

 

“I don’t know”.

OFF THE RACK

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