No one asked her if she wanted to be real. Just as Pygmalion tore her from the earth, battered her shapeless form with his chisel, scraped her skin smooth, dressed her (undressed her) all without asking, he had not thought to ask if she wanted to come down off the pedestal. The fickle goddess, too, had forced breath into her, had given her no warning.

And now she knows that she is not the first woman to dress as she’s told, to smile the smile someone else has given her, to stand, silent as stone, watched by people who think they love her. She is not the first and this company is the last thing she wants.

Sometimes at night, when the wind is hot and salty, she imagines going down to the water as it laps hungry against the sand. (Oh, she hates the hunger). She imagines walking into the waves. Letting the water drag her down like the rock she was.

Maybe she could once again become stone, like the white fingers of so much coral. Maybe, in the secret dark, where he cannot see her, she will be crushed into some finer gem.


R. A. Matteson lives on Lake Superior with a cat who often sounds lost even when all the doors in the house are open. She has been published in Molotov Cocktail and would like to tell you a story if that’s ok with everyone.