You Know Better: Issue Six

May 2013. This is the breakup issue. Welcome to it.

Read on for a taste of this issue. To get a copy, stop by Bluestockings or email isabel at isabelsparkle dot com.


On the F train today as I was heading from one job to another, a girl stepped on who turned everyone's head. She wore a long clingy blue summer dress with no sleeves and high slits up each leg, through which you could see the outline of some large greyscale tattoo on her left thigh and a surprisingly dark spring tan. Or maybe that's how her skin always looks, spongy and thick, like it would taste like butter and spring back from your touch if you reached out. Her brown hair was long, messily caught up in a small black clip, and trailed grown-out bits of blonde along the last foot or so of its curly length. It looked dirty in a really appealing way. Ornate silver rings glimmering on almost every finger, black ankle boots covered in little square metal studs on her feet, radiating a kind of unattainable smokiness none of us realized we'd been missing until this moment, she stood in the middle of the car and nobody could look away.

Everybody stared - the girl in scrubs and wide bangs, the guy with stubble and the white headphones, the tired construction worker - there was just something about her. I think she knew it, and both cared and didn't care. I know the feeling. I've been that girl before. I couldn't help smiling at iPod Guy, who couldn't keep his eyes off of her for more than a minute. He'd always look back, again, as if he thought he'd find something new each time. We passed several stops like that, 2nd Avenue, Delancey Street, East Broadway, and then she crossed in front of me and took a seat, opening her large brown bag to retrieve a smaller red bag, the contents of which she proceeded to rifle through as we rocketed from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

You could tell everyone wanted to know what was in it, what secrets it would hold, what fascinating things we would learn about how she put herself together if we could only see. But nobody wanted to be obvious, so we all sat there, in our places, rationing our glances and pretending to look around at one another more than we'd ever do otherwise. As we approached my transfer, I slurped the foamy dregs of my strawberry juice out of its takeaway cup, so loudly that the woman in the seat next to where I stood looked up at me – pointedly, in that way New Yorkers do – and then, away.