Akasha in Culver City and Charlotte is recounting her audition to me. How she shows up and turns out all the other girls are unbelievably-chic Frenchies in typical LA actress Bohemian garb. Three-day unwashed hair, smoking cigarettes in the waiting room, red-stained lips on the pout. The insouciance, the joie de vivre, je ne sais quoi, the san souci. It’s too much. Trigger to temple. I smiled, knowing the danger of the subtle obvious. The circumstance of beautiful women crammed into the wait, arms crossed, psyching one another. The man on the couch leans over and tells me he loves my shoes. I’m pleased and newly encouraged, flag the counter girl for water a second time. She nodes as it whooshes right over her head and I’m reminded of a casting a few months ago, a print campaign for a cosmetics company. At least 50 girls had shown up and I’d been in awe. Where did this pretty army come from and could march somewhere with them. INtergalatic robots, at least 6’7” to my 5’7”. How she feels like a short cupcake with period bloat. In her pink dress. Pink, for a Frenchie role, she moans, and I love that I can relate to the agony of aftermath. I show her my bootie socks underneath my t-straps like she’d suggested; she smiles. We’re content. We give up on counter girl and it dawns on me that I’ve always been a fan of hindsight bias.
My beautiful friend is holding her hand like a gun and puffing her cheeks out like bullets exploding. The irony. The irony is never lost on me; how game doesn’t always recognize game. On about her hair she’s just chopped, she’s there in that room of smoke pulling on it, hoping it grows in the fucking wait. Intergalactic robot French alien bitches. I know a few men who’d go for that. How it’s flipping up at the ends, trapped in the soccer mom cut. The quelle horror of it all, but a woman’s hair is her fire and the Frenchies are going up in smoke. Sipping my chocovivo with whole milk for the cramps that will disable me in a few hours, feeling proactive about the calcium, the magnesium, the Culver farmer’s market bunches of kale, blood-building iron. My mother nods from the ether and I nod back. I catch the man looking at my shoes again. Women are in this together one way or another. My eyes dance, enjoying the acumen to which she’s describing these perfect mademoiselles—how she feels small and predictable, and god help it, British. How she wants to disappear, keeps screwing up the words and she tells the casting director she wants to do it again, how they’re agreeing with her. There will be blood. Bullet poofs of air as she perfectly describes the feeling of not being what they’re looking for. Balayage. That’s why it looks so amazing. How her highlights were painted on with a brush. We drain our cups, hers made with almond milk. If something’s gonna do it, it had better be a room full of French girls.