Creative Corner: “Pretty in Just the Right Light”

by DeAnne Carswell

Previously printed in 

“The Citron Review” and

continued from the last issue.


This marked a year of my life; pocks denote the days that passed like someone scratching time across a calendar. 

When I felt safe that it was over, I went to see a doctor–supposedly he’s the plastic-smile fixer of all the people over at CNN. 

For $5000, I let him take a laser beam to my face and emerged wrapped in gauze. 

I was left on the sidewalk, in a wheelchair, to await the car in plain-sight of passers-by. 

If not for the big sign, which clearly labeled the building as a cosmetic surgery suite, many may have had the passing thought that I had been the victim of a fiery crash, or a scorned lover had thrown bleach upon my face–I would have. 

Weeks later, when the oozing stopped and the skin grew back, fresh and pink, I found myself 50% improved, though still shy of ordinary.

I told myself that it was good enough, but the mirror still said otherwise. 

In fluorescent, shadows do not play upon faces but indicate voids in structure; I never avoid mirrors, I’m drawn to them. 

I’m always in search of the soft-lit kind, which make me pretty in the right light. For $1600, I went to a local doctor, who people told me was a quack, and let him take a diamond-studded wand to my face. 

I was not put under but was given a small blue pill, which I was told would knock me to a place where I wouldn’t feel anything. 

I was aware, then he reached my temples, and I was scrubbing my face upon the molten rocks of Hell. 

I opened my eyes to see him splattered in my blood, his mask being sucked between his lips as he screamed, “Close your damn eyes, close your damn eyes!”

 I did and bit my lips until they bled, too.  

I am no longer in the pursuit of ordinary, though I’m not opposed to one day letting an attractive aesthetician smear acid on my face. 

Maybe you could erase the scars, but you can never erase the scene of the battle. 

My profile is a confrontation, a slap in the face of normal, a middle finger to the shallow. Even if I find the right light, I’m just as apt to step out of its glow into the dingy cast of an un-cloaked bulb. 

And I would look right in the mirror, with the shit-eating grin of the truly satisfied. I really do like my eyes.