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Pig Sweat -- flash fiction by Jillian Reef

Don’t look so constipated. Tell yourself you don’t care, the shirt wasn’t that cute anyways. Hurry up your friends yell from the other side of the dressing room. Take your meaty fingers and try to find the zipper. Pull the zipper. The zipper won’t budge. It would budge if you fit the shirt. Lilli would fit the shirt. Ignore how red your face is getting. Blow the wisps of hair out of your tear-filled eyes and mumble soft words of encouragement. If you were thin you wouldn’t have to mumble the stupid words to begin with. Try to breathe so you can calm down. Stop breathing so much or you’ll rip the fabric.

Think about a time when you were happy. Think about how happy you will be once you are out of the mall and go home and never leave your room again. Stop distracting yourself and yank the damn zipper.

The zipper finally comes down in one swoop as the loud tear of the fabric follows. You broke the zipper, now everyone will know how disgusting you are. Couldn’t fit into an XL crop top? Lilli can. Lilli is beautiful. You are not. You are a pig. There’s something wrong with you. You are the problem.

Take the ripped top and tuck it in the back corner and leave it there. Don’t let anyone find out you ripped it until after you leave. Look at yourself in the mirror. Wipe your eyes. You just made it worse. Your patchy skin is puffy and pink like a strawberry marshmallow. Guys don’t like marshmallows for girlfriends. Guys only like Lilli.

Wipe your sweaty hands on your ten dollar jeans that you told people were worth fifty. Put on the baggy sweatshirt you wore here even though it’s 80 degrees and sunny. Use the sleeve to wipe the sweat dripping down your forehead and into your eyes. You stink like the pig you are. Don’t smudge your mascara. Open the door. Tell your friends you didn’t like the top even though they saw how excited you were when you saw it. Bummer, Aww, Shoot they say. Lilli can see you were crying but doesn't say anything. She sneaks you a tissue she was keeping in her purse. She patronizes you with her gestures. She knows she’s prettier and that’s why she’s your friend. Watch Lilli thank the woman who helped her pick out clothes that fit perfectly. Hide in Lilli’s shadow because that is where you are safe. Stare at your dirty sneakers and put your hands in your pockets to disappear a little more.

Think about this moment. Think about how you felt terrible last time this happened. Think about how this will never go away because you are stuck in this meat sack forever.

Consider online shopping from now on.


Jillian Reef is a future Broadway star currently living in Ohio with a passion for communicating her thoughts and imagination through her writing and performance. She has been singing and dancing since she was three, and plans to spend the rest of her life telling stories in every way possible. Jillian has written many stories of creating vulnerable characters that readers can connect with to feel heard. Jillian writes to let all the outcasts know that the people who don’t fit in are the ones who change the world. This is her first publication.

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