Karen has a very large ass. It could be said that most of her is ass. This wouldn't be fair to say, but people have said this about her. People have thought of her as White skin, black eyebrows. As How often she washes her hair? And of her jeans being the same and not similar below her desk each day. They squeeze above her ankle and she wears white ankle socks so between her jean cuff and ankle socks there is her cold bare ankle. Her sneakers are flat and thin soled, the color of places she walks. Forget she has feet. She's five feet thanks to big black hair, heavy, fat hair dumping off her shoulders, tapering down at what doesn't need pointing out. Her ass absorbing both thighs, the backs of both knees, sucking her pelvis with it, raising the muscles it sits below, bending her.
She's been trying to transfer to a four-year but fails to pass biology. Five semesters consecutive dropped biology. Five semesters consecutive biology mornings. Exclusive to mornings available. Everyone saying the budget. One F, four Withdrawals in five semesters of the final few units she needs.
When she goes to bed at night she turns on her ceiling fan. The fan is loose and spirals dangerously, above her bed. It might fall and maim her in her sleep but it never does.
In biology she sits row second from back. This way the class won't see her as hiding or as trying to hide exactly what they'd like to if they were her. She keeps most of the class in front of her, and a row of it behind her, and this will be more bearable than calling attention to herself against the rear room wall. She'll sit directly in front of a back row boy, so no one in the back row thinks she cares too much in that way. The boy sees a metal stool prop what proportions to a golfball on a tee, sees the waist of Karen's jeans pucker for her hips and spout this little bit of girl, shoulders narrow and big hair hiding most of what's between them. Semesters slow, seating habituates, until one boy sits behind Karen. His grades suffer imperceptibly.
He looks at her on the bus like she's causing his favorite problem, like her body's of her own making, something she does on purpose in front of him. These are little holey smiles and eyes that come at her from heads whose seats face one another.
There are more men at the bus stop than on the bus, but the bus stop is less crowded than the bus, so a stranger, well over six feet tall, asks if she'd like to be his ass-sistent, then explains in short, rushed sentences how he would ass-solutely handle it. It. Handle it. These men happen more when she is walking past than when she is standing still. They rarely happen on the bus, though she's sure she gets brushed up against more than anyone blocking the door.
She's attracted to men who fit the profile of men who say rude things at her. She braces herself for some rude remark, then gets said other things that relieve her. They're not the second kind of man, who closes up the way he would if a mother was spanking a kid where she's standing. She can't be with that kind of man who closes up, it'd be bad for both of them, put him in bad situations where he'd freeze and she'd feel sorry for him and worse about herself that she wasn't worth breaking his nature for.
In mid November the sidewalks go dark and wet from whatever clear skies do to them overnight. The biology class is BIO1A: Introduction to Biology, a general education requirement. Her major is not in the sciences. She wears sweatshorts and no shirt to bed. She turns on her ceiling fan and pulls blankets over her, fast. Under the blankets is cold at first.
The fan makes sure she's not up all night. Its highest setting, the dangerous, loose, spiraling setting, the sound of that, is needed for her to sleep. In the morning the room's whipped outdoor and the bed is the exact warmth of her. The fan's widened its unscrewing circles. It moves like it's on a swivel, but there's no swivel behind it, just wires.
She's pushed off the bed with the bottoms of her feet and lifted her pelvis forward and she's raised her shoulders above her head as far as they'll go, so her back lays flush with the mattress. In fact, when she repositions this way she's being bent into a U. It isn't my first choice. It lets cold air under the blankets, and she does this repeatedly all morning. I'm a back of the bus kind of guy, always have been, and have had enough classes and been in bed with her enough to know where her real problems come from. I fit the profile so I throw that jelly in her in ear, and it's simple. And if someone sat behind me for months he would see just how simple it is. Maybe her son, asleep in between us, will see how simple it is. He wants the front of her, to be cradled that way, but I coax her back onto her stomach. She owes me that much.