The eye of the beholder

I have a secret. I am a secret. I feel the clasp of my bra bite into my back and pinch my skin; instead of irritating me it feels like a softly whispered secret - “I know you”.

Beauty is pain after all.    

The dull girl on the customer service counter calls my name - “Paul Roche” - and I stand up while the same voice that whispered softly now indignantly screams “Paula” in my head.
The inner Paula strides confidently forward in high heels, the docile Paul shuffles in loafers.  

fiction by
Deirdre Reidy

art by
Martha Mazda

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