Sheila watched Brita sleeping in the pillow. She looked at her sanguine cheeks, the closed eyes, and at the tiny hairs up her nose. This close, she seemed ugly. Sheila was falling in love with this momentary grotesque. That way Brita’s left eye seemed slanted, dismembering the normally symmetrical face of the girls Sheila slept with—girls from New York and California, blond Christians with tiny mouths tiny noses and plump eyes.
The first sight Sheila had of Brita was not on the colorful front porch but inside the living room, during a game of Pictionary. Her coworker, a boy named Justin who lived out at Riverside and recounted his time hunting deer last weekend, pointed to his friend Brita and explained “she’s studying engineering, at a vocational college, and is therefore the smartest fucking person in this room.” The actual introductions came from Brita first, who sprinted form the back of a couch in green cammo shorts. They said their hellos and names, as Sheila noticed the soft furs running up the inside of this tall woman’s thighs. While the hair on Brita’s head was cropped, the down on her arms and the two mustaches above the eyes, glistened below the lamplight. Sheer radiance, Sheila thought, as their preliminary facts (“actually I wasn’t born in America. I was born in Poland then when I was fourteen months my parents, who are diplomats, took me to England, then at sixteen months to Florida,” Brita said, outlining the start of her life) before they were interrupted by the start of the game.