The Not Me

Carrie spoke through narrow lips that looked like they were sewn on too tightly. She had the gravelly voice of a lifetime smoker, but her trembly tone and hesitant nature made her barely audible. She seldom talked to people during the support group, and if she did she never peered directly into anyone’s eyes. She usually sat near a corner of the room, always making sure to face the only door leading in or out.

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Carrie was petite and jittery. The pale foundation she slathered on her cheeks and the thick black lines she drew under her eyes did not conceal her frailty. Her dry, bleached-blonde hair tapered sharply just below her shoulders. It hung in solid-looking clumps that, like the rest of her, seemed as brittle as icicles.

Carrie usually dressed in snug, almost colorless acid-washed jeans and plain, baggy, crew neck sweatshirts in creamy tones of pastel pink or yellow. In all those faint colors, she sometimes appeared as…

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